College to offer evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites

The SUNY Oswego music and theatre departments will present the hits of a legendary Broadway songwriting team in “The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

The evening will feature popular songs from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II performed by the accomplished vocal quartet SATB, the College Community Orchestra, College Choir, Festival Chorus and SUNY Oswego faculty. Todd Graber, chair of the college’s music department, will serve as host and vocalist.

Student vocalists rehearseRodgers and Hammerstein formed a distinguished American songwriting team during what was considered the “golden age” of Broadway musicals in the 1940s and ‘50s. Among others, they created “The Sound of Music,” “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma!” and the show will feature songs from those plays and more.

The members of SATB, including Graber, have been singing together since 1991, when they were known as the Great Lakes Quartet. The group—whose name comes from soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—has performed at festivals and recitals across the Midwest, and its members have appeared as soloists alongside a variety of orchestras, from Toledo to Columbus, Ga. Critics have praised SATB’s attention to musical detail, care with interpretation and exceptional ensemble sound.

Unique arrangements

SATB and arranger Robert Russell Bennett have performed Rodgers and Hammerstein tributes many times. For the SUNY Oswego show, they promise to add unique elements to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classics while respecting the songwriters’ brilliance.

“There are solos involved with us, there are some duets and some quartets; in fact, the whole show is (normally) geared to be almost all solos and duets,” Graber said. “And as a quartet, one of the things we like to do is sing together. So we had our arranger create some arrangements for us that took the existing orchestration and put four parts into it instead of two or one. So about four or five of the songs that are originally solos in the show are turned into quartet numbers.”

SUNY Oswego students Jennifer Pratt and Nathan Keep also will perform a duet, “We Kiss in a Shadow,” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein muscical “The King and I.”

“{The music} is so popular,” Graber said. “People my age or older, even the younger crowd, know these musicals because they’ve probably seen them on TV. It’s very well-crafted music and I think the fact that it’s also being played with the orchestra helps a lot because the arranger of all the orchestra parts is just a wonderful arranger.”

Tickets for “The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein” are available at all SUNY Oswego box office outlets, online at http://tickets.oswego.edu and by phone at 312-2141. Tickets are $15 for the general public ($12 for seniors ages 62 and over, SUNY Oswego faculty and staff; $7 for SUNY Oswego students). Parking is free in campus lots for those attending these performances.

The Tyler Art Gallery’s exhibition “Generations III” will be open prior to the Rodgers and Hammerstein concert, from 7 to 8 p.m. May 4 and 5 and 1 to 2 p.m. May 6.

PHOTO CAPTION: Love song—SUNY Oswego students Jennifer Pratt and Nathan Keep, right, rehearse “We Kiss in a Shadow” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” as Todd Graber, chair of the college’s music department, accompanies. The duet is among many songs of the legendary Broadway songwriting duo in “The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” featuring vocal quartet SATB, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

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(Posted: Apr 13, 2012)

Tags: todd graber, theatre and music departments, theater, music