On Thursday, UD presented its annual Celebration of the Arts concert at the Schuster Center.
Celebration of the Arts brings together students from all majors to express their love of the visual and performing arts. Starting at 6 p.m., art exhibitions were displayed in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center, with the performing arts taking center stage at 7:30.
The performances covered a variety of disciplines, including music, theatre and dance, and explored many different genres, from classical to contemporary. The World Music Choir, led by Dr. Sharon Gratto, specializes in repertoire from different cultures and languages.
“World Music Choir performed one selection, a welcome song of the Maori people of New Zealand,” Gratto said. “This performance was dedicated to the people who were shot down in the Christ Church, New Zealand Mosque.”
“When we celebrate the arts, one thing we always think of is the power of the arts to communicate across cultures, to bring communities together, to heal,” added Julia Randel, Chair of the Department of Music.
The University Orchestra, led by Dr. Patrick Reynolds, performed the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony no. 25. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble, also led by Reynolds, performed a more contemporary work titled Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli.
“They are both exciting pieces that have been part of our repertoire so far,” Reynolds said. “They’re a perfect fit for the Celebration of the Arts.”
The Ebony Heritage Singers performed a gospel piece, Blessed be the Lord.
“I selected the piece based on its message, energy and fun-factor, honestly,” said Dr. Donna Cox, director of the Ebony Heritage Singers. “Typically, for EHS, I like to select a piece with interesting rhythms and a strong invitation for audience participation.”
The UD Dance Ensemble, led by artist-in-residence Amy Jones, performed a piece called “All Things Considered,” which is an excerpt from their spring concert, “Balance.” It was choreographed by Jones and Shonna Hickman-Matlock from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
“I would like the audience to leave the theatre feeling inspired to move and hopeful of finding a better Balance within their own lives,” Jones said.
The show is a collaboration between hundreds of students from a variety of academic fields working together to share their love of the arts. For musicians, collaboration is woven into the foundation of the art form.
“Ensembles bring together musicians of different majors, as well as different instruments in each performance,” Reynolds said. “With the exception of solo instruments, music is, by its nature, collaborative.”
“The amazing thing is how many performers are not arts majors but are majoring in many other disciplines, from Engineering to Business,” Gratto said.
In addition to collaboration, the Celebration of the Arts offered UD students the chance to showcase their hard work, talent and dedication in a world-class performing space.
“It is a huge benefit for students to perform on the Schuster Center stage,” Randel said. “It gives them the experience of performing in a truly professional setting, and of getting to fill a large hall with sound.”
For the students and faculty involved, they hope the audience left feeling inspired.
“Maybe they heard or saw something they have never experienced before, and it will open them to a new kind of music or art, to a new culture or way of looking at the world,” Randel said. “We also hope the audience will be moved to come back for more arts events at UD throughout the year!”