First Sunday Recital of 2015 to Feature Soprano Anne Wick

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 25 in Francis Auditorium, soprano Anne Wick and pianist Clement Acevedo will present a wonderful afternoon of art song and musical theatre selections. Their program consists of Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs, I Never Saw Another Butterfly by American composer Ellwood Derr, Antonin Dvorak’s Gypsy Songs (sung in Czech), and several entertaining musical theatre selections.

“Berg’s Seven Early Songs have such rich color and texture. It seems the more I spend time with these pieces, the more I enjoy them and the more I discover,” says Wick. “The lush harmonies and mix of simplicity with intricacy is fascinating, and the texts are highly evocative, yet subtle, often incorporating elements of nature — shifting clouds, rustling reeds, or a rose-scented breeze.”

She goes on to describe Ellwood Derr’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly, which is set to the poems by children who were incarcerated in the Nazi ghetto for Jews in Terezín, Czechoslovakia (1942-44) and who died in Auschwitz before the end of October 1944. Wick explains that the music depicts imagery such as “a butterfly ascending into the sky, the stomping of Nazi boots, or the weeping and wailing cries of the oppressed.” She also points out that “the voice, piano, and alto saxophone perform as equals, taking turns telling the story.” (The duo will be joined by saxophonist Jon Stapleton for this part of the program.) Interestingly, Derr was Wick’s theory professor at the University of Michigan.

The seriousness of the first two works will be balanced with Dvorak’s beautiful Gypsy Songs, which include the familiar and well-loved “Songs My Mother Taught Me.” Wick welcomed the challenge of singing these works in Czech. “Though they were originally written in German, I liked the idea of singing in Czech, the language of the gypsies,” she said.

The duo will also perform some musical theatre selections; Wick is well-known to area audiences for her work in this style, having appeared or served as musical director with Waynesboro Players, ShenanArts, Oak Grove Theater, Blue Ridge Theater Festival, and “Broadway and Beyond.”   They plan to end the program with a comical song sub-titled “Tone Deaf.”

“This often-requested piece not only pokes fun at an opera singer, but shows off the importance of a talented and intelligent collaborative pianist,” Wick said. “It is thrilling to work with Clement, who is able to help bring this music to life with technical proficiency and, just as important, a sense of joy.”

Wick’s varied performing career includes recent performances with the Middle Saxony Orchestra (Freiberg, Germany), the University of Michigan Opera Theater, Luray Opera Theater, Wolftrap Opera, Shenandoah Valley Choral Society, and Staunton Ovation Singers. She is on the faculty at Mary Baldwin University and also teaches at James Madison University, where she is completing the DMA. Award-winning Filipino pianist Clement Acevedo has performed throughout the United States, as well as in the Philippines and in China. He is currently a doctoral student at James Madison University.

The Sunday Recital Series also includes performances by pianist Luis Gonzales, cellist Ryan Hoffman, and violinist Steffany Shock on February 1; pianist Lise Keiter on March 15; and the Terra Voce Duo on April 12.

Tickets for the January 25 recital may be purchased at the door and are $5 for the general public and $4 for seniors and students (Mary Baldwin students are free). For more information call 540-887-7294 or visit the Music at Mary Baldwin page.