New music season offers diversity
Posted Oct. 17, 2008

Todd Harper, the University of La Verne’s new director of choral activities, will introduce his style of leadership to the community Nov. 1, in a semester full of ULV musical performances.

“Sure on this Shining Light” is the University of La Verne Fall Choral Concert that will take place Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.

This will be the first performance under the direction of Harper.

The concert will center on “celebrating the mystery of night, love, life and relationships,” Harper said.

“Shining Light” is a great opportunity for Harper to introduce himself; the pieces were chosen specifically by him.

“These are pieces I personally love and have a history with,” Harper said.

On Nov. 7, Harper and the music department will invite high school choirs and students to ULV for the 10th Annual Friends Festival at the Church of the Brethren at 1 p.m.

Music Department Chairman Reed Gratz said he is looking forward to the high school festival this year.

“I’m excited about recruiting; it’s an essential requirement,” Gratz said.

Other performances also highlight this semester’s schedule for the music department.

Faculty member and pianist, Grace Xia Zhao will perform on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. in Founders Auditorium.

Cellist Paula Fehrenbach and pianist Timothy Durkovic, an adjunct faculty member in the music department, will perform “The Complete Works for Cello and Piano by Beethoven: Part I” on Nov 21, at 8 p.m. in Founders Auditorium.

The West African Drum Ensemble’s concert will take place Dec. 10 in Founders Auditorium at 8 p.m.

Music Department Coordinator Steven Biondo organized the ensemble in 2002.

“It is very important [to experience different cultures during college.] Along with teaching the traditional drumming in my class, I teach about the West African culture and how the rhythms relate to life in the villages,” Biondo said.

Harper agrees with Biondo about the significance of experiencing other cultures.

While designing this semester’s concert series, Harper kept in mind a need for diversity.

“I am a huge advocate for exposure to all cultures, genres and periods,” Harper said.

ULV’s annual winter concert, “Of Solace and Snow,” will close the Fall Concert Series on Dec. 12 at the La Verne Church of the Brethren at 7 p.m.

Both the ULV Chorale and the Chamber Singers will be dedicating their performance “to the wonder of snow, the beauty of winter and the joys of the holiday season.”

General admission is $5, and student admission is free for each of these performances.

This is Harper’s first semester at ULV, and he has done nothing less than impress the music department and University, said Gratz.

“He’s doing all the right things,” Gratz said. “He has great enthusiasm and is building a community within the choir. We are seeing great results.”

“It is very exciting to have [Harper] here this year. He is already off to a fantastic start, and the students really seem to connect with him right away,” Biondo said.

Harper is looking forward to seeing the choirs perform for the first time and has high hopes for them.

“I would like to see the students continue to have pride and enrich their academic as well as personal lives,” Harper said.

Harper believes that the most important part of choir is to create relationships; he himself made his best friends in choir.

The department has high hopes for Harper as well.

“The choir is our face to the community. The success of the department is judged by the choir, its quality and number of students,” Gratz said. “He is a great match for the University and for the department.”

The La Verne Church of the Brethren is located at the corner of Bonita Avenue and E Street.

Victoria Farlow can be reached at victoria.farlow@laverne.edu.

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