Performances to Celebrate School of Music's 150th

Sept. 16, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music will celebrate its 150th anniversary with special public concerts and performances Oct. 17-19 during Homecoming weekend.

Green Carpet Gala Concert, Oct. 17

A Green Carpet Gala Concert on Oct. 17 will feature many of the School of Music’s ensembles and performances by alumni award winners Kyle Pfortmiller ’92 and Sean Parsons ’01. The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St., and will conclude with a performance of the “1812 Overture.” 

Pfortmiller has appeared with numerous opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Forth Worth Opera and Opera Saratoga. His repertoire includes the title roles in Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Valentin in Faust, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Papageno in The Magic Flute.

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, Pfortmiller employs his talents to musical theatre as well as opera. Roles include Billy Bigelow (Carousel), Henry Higgins (My Fair Lady) and Fred/Petruchio (Kiss Me Kate).

Parsons is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator. Currently assistant professor of jazz studies and music theory at Ohio University, Parsons maintains an active performance schedule. He is scheduled to perform Oct. 17 with the IWU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Tim Pitchford. Parsons has written "Meraki," a new composition, for the group. "Meraki" is a word modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with creativity or love.      

The recipient of the Robert M. Montgomery Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, Parsons has performed at national and international music festivals and recently released Introduction, his debut recording as a pianist and composer.

Titan Pep Band Alumni Reunion, Oct. 18

Several hundred alumni from across the nation are expected to take part in the Titan Pep Bank Alumni Reunion performance Oct. 18 between 8:30 and 11 a.m. on the Eckley Quadrangle. Under the direction of Ed Risinger, alumni will join current Pep Band members in what organizers are calling the “biggest and loudest Titan Pep Band in 150 years.”

Hands-On Opportunity with Balinese Gamelan instruments, Oct. 18

All friends of Illinois Wesleyan are invited to try out the University’s Balinese Gamelan instruments. Gamelan is an ensemble of instruments from Indonesia, with each instrument built and tuned for playing in a specific ensemble. No experience is necessary to try the instruments, which will be available Oct. 18 from 9 to 11 a.m. on the Eckley Quadrangle. In case of inclement weather, the event will be in Presser Hall, Room 308.

Collegiate Choir Reunion Performance, Oct. 19

Under the direction of Professor Scott Ferguson, Collegiate Choir alumni will join the current Collegiate Choir of approximately 50 voices on Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. The Collegiate Choir performance occurs as part of the traditional Homecoming All-Campus Service in Evelyn Chapel.

Camerata Orchestra and Chamber Music Reunion Concert, Oct. 19   

A Camerata Orchestra and Chamber Music Reunion Concert will be presented Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium. Associate Professor of Violin and Viola Vadim Mazo has invited alumni from across the country to join him for the concert. Mazo founded and directed the Illinois Wesleyan Camerata, an ensemble that performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

The earliest music instruction of record at Illinois Wesleyan took place during the 1863-64 academic year under the direction of Professor Harvey C. DeMotte, who later became vice president of the University. Historical records indicate that within a decade the University “boasted advantages in musical culture equal to those offered by the best institutions in the land.”