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Music at Union University


Upcoming Events

Terry McRoberts Piano Recital set for Feb. 17 24 (rescheduled due to weather)

Terry McRobert Terry McRoberts will perform a faculty piano recital in Hartley Recital Hall located in Jennings Hall on the Union University campus Tuesday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. The program will include Two Pieces for Left Hand, Op. 9 by Alexander Scriabin, Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel, and the Wanderer Fantasy by Franz Schubert. The Scriabin pieces are performed in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the death of the composer, and the Ravel suite was composed in honor of eighteenth century keyboard works in France. The Schubert piece is a technical tour de force, and a good time for all. There is no admission fee for this one hour recital and the public is cordially invited to attend. For additional information please contact the Department of Music at (731) 661-5345.

Past Events

Jazz Band Concert set for Nov. 20

Jazz BandThe Union University Jazz Band will perform its Fall concert on Thursday, November 20 in Hartley Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. The concert will feature a wide selection of traditional Swing Era Jazz as well as exciting Latin influenced Jazz. Two vocal soloists, Autumn Hitt and Kaitlyn Pindak, will round out the evening singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra.

Opera Workshop set for Nov. 18

Opera WorkshopUnion's Opera Workshop will present an evening of magical entertainment featuring the dramatic "card scene" from Bizet's beautiful and tragic opera Carmen, and the first act of Mozart's marvelous opera The Magic Flute. Come hear these famous tragic and comic scenes from the world of opera sung by our talented young students. People of all ages adore the story of The Magic Flute so please include this wonderful production in your holiday plans! This event, free and open to the public, will be Tuesday, November 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall.

Symphony Orchestra Concert set for Nov. 13

Symphony OrchestraCome and join Union University's Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, November 13th for their annual Fall Concert that includes a spectacular evening of orchestral music with a wide variety of composers.

The evening's performance begins with the rousing "Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla" by Michael Ivanovich Glinka. Joining the orchestra as guest soloist, Sarah Beth Hanson, flute professor at Union, will be performing Mozart's Flute Concerto in D Major.

Concluding the program will be Igor Stravinsky's "Berceuse" and "Finale", the final two movements from the "Firebird Suite" 1919.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church, 1627 North Highland Avenue in Jackson. This concert is free and open to the public.

Symphonic Band Concert set for Nov. 11

Please join Union University Symphonic Band, conducted by Michael Mann, at their annual Fall Concert on Tuesday, November 11th at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held in the beautiful sanctuary of First Baptist Church, 1627 Highland Avenue, in Jackson.

This year's program includes "Past the Equinox" by Jack Stamp, which is one of his earliest works that depicts the battle between good and evil. Also on the program is"English Folk Song Suite", a three-movement work composed by Ralph Vaughn Williams and considered a standard in Band literature. The beautiful Band chorale setting of "Ave Maria" by Franz Biebl (adapted for Band by Robert Cameron) will be performed as well.

You won't want to miss Eric Whitacre's haunting "Ghost Train" complete with sound effects that depict a rusty train leaving the station without a engineer! The concert will conclude with "The Redwoods", a John Williams-like composition by Rossano Galante that portrays the excitement and grandeur of a daunting forest full of tall and majestic Redwoods.

The concert is free and open to the public. Symphonic Band

Fall Choral Concert set for Oct. 30

Women's ChoirThursday evening, October 30, the Department of Music will present its annual Fall Choral Concert, featuring the Union University Men's Choir, Cantilena, and Union University Singers. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 at First Baptist Church, 1627 North Highland Avenue, Jackson.

Selections by Union University Men's Choir will continue their traditional of quality singing coupled with lighthearted entertainment, featuring pieces like "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," the early American hymn "Promised Land," and the perennial favorite, "Stand by Me." Cantilena, Union's women's choir under the direction of Dr. David Dennis, will sing Rene Clausen's exciting setting of Psalm 100 along with Moses Hogan's soulful arrangement of "This Little Light of Mine."

Union's premier choral ensemble, University Singers, will perform during the second half of the Fall Choral Concert, premiering "Salmo 100," a commissioned piece by Union faculty member, Dr. Daniel Musselman. Additionally, Singers will present traditional choral works such as Monteverdi's "Cantate Domino" and Mendellsohn's "Ave Maria" (with tenor soloist, Dr. Stanley Warren) as well as modern pieces including Stephen Paulus' "The Road Home," Howard Helvey's arrangement of the shaped-note hymn, "The Eternal Gates," and Moses Hogan's setting of "I Can Tell the World."

University Singers

The Twenty-sixth Annual McAfee Organ Concert

Judith Hancock Judith Hancock will be performing a concert in memory of her late husband, Gerre Hancock, at the twenty-sixth annual McAfee Organ Concert on Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel on the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Gerre Hancock played three times at Union University on the Visser-Rowland organ.

This varied program includes works by Bach, Brahms, Duruflé, Mendelssohn, Sowerby, and Gerre Hancock. The compositions on the program use musical elements that Gerre used in his improvisations and compositions, or reflect different elements of his personality. Hancock's Air was dedicated to Judith, and written in the year they married.

The public is invited, and there is no admission fee. For further information call 731 661-5345.

"Quartet for the End of Time" to be performed October 14

David McClune David McClune (right), Terry McRoberts, Kate Ryan and Jamie Stephens will perform "Quartet for the End of Time", by French composer Olivier Messiaen, on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Messiaen wrote this eight-movement piece of chamber music while he was imprisoned in Stalag VIII-A, a prisoner-of-war camp, in Gorlitz, Germany in 1940. While in prison, Messiaen met a violinist, a cellist and a clarinetist. He wrote a trio for them, which he gradually incorporated into his "Quartet for the End of Time". The quartet was first performed in January 1941 to an audience of prisoners and prison guards.

Olivier Messiaen was a devote Roman Catholic Christian, and this piece is a mystical Christian's vision of the end of time as portrayed in the Book of Revelation (10:1-2, 5-7). The sounds of the work range from the beautiful "Praise to the eternity of Jesus" to the emotionally powerful "Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets". "Quartet for the End of Time" is one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed and brings new depth to the idea of modern Christian music.

A recital you won't want to miss, this free public event will be held in Hartley Recital Hall - Jennings Hall on Union University's campus and begins at 7:30 p.m.

Faculty Recital by Michael Penny set for September 23

Michael Penny's recital is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall of Jennings Hall. It will have five sections and several guest performers with Terry McRoberts as the pianist.

The following are Dr. Penny's own words to describe the event:

Mike PennyI first sing an aria from Hindemith's Die Harmonie der Welt, a mid-20th century operas about the 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler. I am trying to see how the Hindemith opera and the recent opera Kepler by Philip Glass treat Kepler's Christianity and his Christian worldview. My interest was spurred when I saw a performance of the Glass opera a couple of years ago. The aria is sung by the character Kaiser Rudolf II, who was one of Kepler's patrons and protectors. Rudolf, known for his self-indulgence and dabbling in the occult and obscure sciences, cannot reconcile Kepler's teaching about God's "harmony of the world" with his own perception of the world as meaningless chaos. It nearly drives him crazy, enough to attack Kepler physically.

I am pleased to present a world premiere, a set of five songs based on poems found in the Terezin (Czech Republic) concentration camp after it was liberated. It is written by Dr. Barbara Harbach of St. Louis, who will be our visiting composer-in-residence a week later. The cycle is for baritone voice, violin and piano. I'm delighted to have a UU student, Lydia Michelle Cronk, as the violinist. Though it is newly written, the cycle is very melodic and lyrical.

I am indulging my taste for opera by performing a delightful comic trio from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. The others of the trio are recent UU music graduates, Dawn Baxter and Jake Fry. We get to dress up as pirates!

Next, Jake Fry and I will sing three hymn duets arranged by Ovid Young for the great opera singers Hale and Wilder, both of whom were strong Christians. Dean Wilder, who died in 2002, billed himself as the world's tallest tenor: he was 6' 7". His fellow singer Robert Hale, a baritone who still appears at the Met, is a mere 6' 4". They did several tours together singing sacred concerts-around 4000.

The recital will end with some old favorites: three songs by the British comedy team Flanders and Swann. I hope they will make you smile. In one of them, "The Hippopotamus," I'll have our UU student from Thailand, Wijittra Huajai (whom we all call Kwan), sing a refrain in Thai!

There is no admission charge to attend Dr. Penny's recital. His recital will have something in it to please everyone, and everyone is invited. See you there!

Violin and Cello Duo To Perform Recital September 11

Soh-Hyun and Leonardo AltinoSoh-Hyun and Leonardo Altino, violin and cello duo, first met in New York while preparing for a concert tour and festival in Colombia, South America. A year later, Leo and Soh-Hyun were married in Montgomery, AL, and made their debut as a duo while performing the Brahms Double Concerto in Brazil. Twelve years later, the duo remains committed to performing for audiences around the world and finds their major calling to be mentoring students through concerts, master classes, and lessons. In addition to their frequent collaborations as soloists and recitalists, the Altinos perform together as members of the Dúnamis Trio and Ceruti Quartet, faculty ensembles at the University of Memphis.

The recital program on September 11 includes a new work by Paul Desenne, a Venezuelan composer of French descent and one of the greatest living composers from South America. En Voyage was commissioned four years ago by a close friend and colleague of the couple's, and this will be the second public performance of the piece. Leonardo Altino speaks about Desenne's music; "Paul's music is extremely difficult and yet full of vitality and colors. Many years ago, when I first heard his violin sonata being performed in Venezuela, I was sitting next to the friend who later commissioned En Voyage. Deeply impressed and moved by the music, I turned to the friend during the concert and asked, 'does Paul write for the cello?' It was an incredible surprise when we received En Voyage as a gift."

Along with the duo sonatas by Kodály and Ravel, this program is certain to be one of the most challenging and glorious music written for the violin and cello.

The rectial will take place in the Hartley Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and everyone is cordially invited.

Georgia Wellborn Faculty Voice Recital set for September 2

Union University Department of Music faculty Georgia Wellborn, David McClune, and Terry McRoberts will present a recital of music for soprano, clarinet, and piano Tuesday, September 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall on the Union University campus. Collectively, the three musicians have taught over seventy-five years in the Union University's Department of Music and have presented at least as many faculty recitals.

The September 2nd recital will feature some of their favorite musical selections. Included in the evening's music are three of Gabriel Fauré's most beloved songs and two of Samuel Barber's most humorous songs for voice and piano as well as Poulenc's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. The program will conclude with a performance of Schubert's beautiful concert piece for soprano, clarinet and piano, Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.

Admission is free and everyone is cordially invited.

New York Chamber Soloists to perform at Union

New York Chamber SoloistsThe New York Chamber Soloists will perform a delightful program including a quintet version of the ever popular Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, the delightful Prokofiev Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, and Strings, Op. 39, and the profound Brahms Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25 in G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel on the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

The New York Chamber Soloists is a flexible ensemble, so that it can perform a wide variety of repertoire. The group has over 250 works in its repertoire with 25 pieces written specifically for them, and appears with varying numbers of performers according the repertoire being performed. This performance will involve seven performers. The ensemble was in residence at the Vermont Mozart Festival from 1974 through 2010.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Music and the Union University Lyceum. There is no admission fee for the event, and the public is cordially invited to attend. For more information call 731 661 5345.

Dan Musselman to preform Faculty Composition Recital

Solo ConversationsDr. Daniel Musselman will present a recital of vocal compositions ("Solo Conversations") on Thursday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m. The performance will take place in Hartley Recital Hall on the Jackson campus of Union University.

Dr. Musselman will be joined by several of his colleagues and friends in performances of "Warning Music" (2008), a humorous cycle for soprano and piano based on inane warning labels, "Donne and Women" (2014), a cycle for tenor and piano that sets a variety of John Donne's poetry, and "My Dearest Friend" (2013), a cycle for mezzo-soprano, piano, bass trombone and percussion that sets selected letters from Abigail Adams to her husband John. This cycle will be performed by the same ensemble that premiered it in Carnegie Hall this December, Dr. Hope Thacker, Dr. Brian Thacker, Dr. Keith Herris, and Dr. Josh Smith. "Warning Music" will feature Sabrina Warren and will be the first US performance of this work. "Donne and Women" will receive its world premiere on this recital and was commissioned by the soloist, Dr. Stanley Warren.

To learn more about Dr. Musselman's works, please visit his website at

Sabrina Laney Warren to perform Faculty Voice Recital

Sabrina Laney WarrenSabrina Laney Warren will be giving a faculty voice recital on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall - Jennings Hall.

Mrs. Warren's recital will include concert and operatic arias, art songs, and will range from the baroque era to modern era. Additionally, the recital will feature the new work Spoon River, based on the Edgar Lee Master's classic, composed by Rachel DeVore Fogarty. Mrs. Warren premiered this work in 2013 with the Oak Ridge Symphony under the baton of Maestro Dan Allcott.

For more information about Mrs. Warren please visit:, and for information about Rachel DeVore Fogarty.

This recital is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the music department at (731) 661-5345.

Terry McRoberts to preform Faculty Piano Recital

Terry McRobertsTerry McRoberts will present a faculty piano recital titled "Sound and Silence" on Tuesday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall on the Union University campus. The program will explore the important role that silence plays in sound. Works by Cage, Takemitsu, and Messiaen, twentieth century composers who explored the use of silence in music, will be performed. Performances of works by Mozart and Sibelius will illustrate that earlier composers used silence in important ways. Perennial favorites May-Night by Palmgren and Rustle of Spring by Sinding will also be featured on the program. There is no admission charge, and the public is cordially invited to attend. For more information call 731-661-5345.

Music professor’s songs to be performed at Carnegie Hall

Several songs composed by Union University professor Dan Musselman will be featured at New York City’s Carnegie Hall Dec. 20.

Musselman, assistant professor of music, said he was impressed by the vocal talents of Hope Thacker, a former Union adjunct professor, after hearing a recital she gave last year. Once he learned that Thacker needed music for her upcoming Carnegie Hall performance, Musselman offered to compose an original song cycle tailored to Thacker’s creative interests – and she agreed.

“Hope is really interested in new music,” said Musselman, who has written several other song cycles, or groups of songs written by the same composer or based on a common theme. “I’m glad that she was willing to take a chance with new music from me.” READ MORE

Opera Workshop to present musical theatre review "Give My Regards to Broadway" Nov. 21

Opera Workshop Thursday evening, November 21, at 7:30 pm, the Opera Workshop of Union University, under the direction of Dr. Stanley Warren, Professor of Music, will present a musical theater revue entitled "Give My Regards to Broadway." The performance will feature memorable Broadway hits from the 20's and 30's by Kern, Gershwin, Cole Porter and others. These great show tunes from the jazz age are still popular today in productions such as "Crazy for You" and revivals of "Show Boat" and "Anything Goes." Come join us and rediscover the wit and charm of this great music!

The musical revue will be performed in Hartley Recital Hall, located in Jennings Hall. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Department of Music at (731) 661-5345.

Union symphonic band to present concert Nov. 12

Symphonic Band The Union University Symphonic Band, conducted by Michael Mann, will be performing their Fall Concert, Tuesday, November 12th at 7:30 pm. The concert features works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Techili, Mackey, Gillingham and others, performed by the 53 member band.

The free concert will be held at the First Baptist Church, 1627 N. Highland Ave. in Jackson.

Union orchestra to present first concert Nov. 8

Pilot OrchestraUnion University’s University Orchestra will have its first concert at First Baptist Church in Jackson Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

This is the inaugural year for the Union University music department’s orchestra. The program for the concert will feature Julliard-trained oboist Demetrios Karamintzas as a guest artist performing the Vivaldi Oboe Concerto in C Major as well as a complete performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.

After completing its pilot run in the spring of 2013, the University Orchestra has now become an official ensemble of the music department. Read More in News Release

Fall Choral Concert - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 7:30 p.m. - First Baptist Church, Jackson

Fall Choral Concert The Department of Music will host the annual Fall Choral Concert Thursday, October 31, 7:30 p.m., at First Baptist Church, Jackson (1627 North Highland Avenue). The first half of the evening will feature Union University's Women's Choir, Cantilena, along with the Men's Choir singing separately and combined for two pieces: "Dirait-on" by Morten Lauridsen and "Until I Found the Lord" by André Thomas. The second half of the concert will feature Union University Singers, the premier vocal ensemble comprised of 43 sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Singers will be returning from short tour, during which the ensemble will have performed at the annual conference of the National Association for Music Education held in Nashville. Singers' selections will include a polychoral setting of Psalm 100 by Heinrich Schütz, Stanford's lush "Beati quorum via," and "River to River," a Tennessee medley composed by Union University Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Daniel Musselman.

The Fall Choral Concert is free and open to the public.

25th Annual McAfee Organ Concert features Jack Mitchener on Oct. 29

Jack MitchenerJack Mitchener will be presenting the McAfee Organ Concert on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. in G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel. He will be performing works by Bach, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Locklair. Mitchener is Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music, Associate Professor of Organ in the Townsend School of Music, and University Organist at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He also serves as Organist/Choirmaster at the historic Christ Episcopal Church in the same city. A former faculty member at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he also has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Salem College, the Eastman School of Music (Community Education Division), and the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

Dr. Mitchener has performed in notable venues such as the Church of St. Sulpice and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, St. Thomas Church, New York City, the Augustinerkirche (St. Augustine's) in Vienna, the St. Jacobikirche in Lübeck, Germany, and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. A laureate in the Philadelphia American Guild of Organists Competition, Music Teachers National Association National Organ Competition, and Dublin International Organ Competition, his performances have been heard in concert and in broadcasts (such as Pipe Dreams) throughout the USA and Europe. In June 2012, he toured Asia giving recitals, master classes, lectures, and workshops in Hong Kong and Japan. He also has spent the last two summers in residence at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. His work as a collaborative artist can be heard on five compact discs, and his solo recordings are available on the Raven label.

Jack Mitchener's repertoire includes extensive works from the early literature, the complete organ works of J. S. Bach, and premières of new works by Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Locklair, Margaret Vardell Sandresky, and Robert Ward (winner of the Pulitzer Prize). A former organ student of Marie-Claire Alain, Guy Bovet, David Craighead, David Higgs, Susan Landale, Louise Leach, John Mueller, Robert Murphy, and Russell Saunders, he also studied improvisation with Gerre Hancock. He holds two master's degrees and the Doctor of Musical Arts as well as the Performer's Certificate in both organ and harpsichord from The Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. His undergraduate degree is from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. During his two years studying in Paris, he won the Médaille d'or (Gold Medal), Prix d'Excellence, and Prix de Virtuosité at the Conservatoire National de Rueil-Malmaison, France.

In addition to teaching and performing, Jack Mitchener has had a long career in the field of church music, serving several congregations including the American Cathedral in Paris and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC, where he played the historic E.M. Skinner organ, Opus 712. For the American Guild of Organists, he has been a chapter dean and a member of the National Committee on Professional Education. Jack Mitchener is a member of Windwerk Artists Management. For more information, visit

Mitchener will also be presenting a workshop on creative hymn playing on Monday, October 28 at 4:30 in G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel. There is no admission charge for the recital and workshop, and the public is cordially invited to attend.

Ron Brendel to give voice recital Oct. 15

Ron BrendelRon Brendel will be giving his voice recital on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartley Recital Hall - Jennings Hall. This recital is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Department of Music at (731) 661-5345.

While Benjamin Britten is well-known for his operas, most notably Peter Grimes and Albert Herring, he is less-known for his song literature, which is often sadly neglected. This recital presents Britten's song output from a variety of eras of his life, as well as languages. His eclecticism is seen in a context of the smaller genres, and his unique writing for the voice is clearly documented.

This recital opens with the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, the first set of songs written for tenor Peter Pears. The program looks back to 1928 to the early French songs, written by Britten as a teen. Next is the Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente, Britten's homage to German Lieder. Finally, one of the five canticles, My Beloved is Mine, is presented, with its mini-cantata format and references to Purcell.

Tenor Ron Brendel has sung and presented the music of Britten at a variety of venues and conferences around the world. Especially during the Britten Centennial in 2013, this music is appropriately celebrated.

Choral Masterwork Concert with Guests from South Africa

The South African Dancing VoicesThe Department of Music is delighted to present two joint concerts with guest ensemble, South African Dancing Voices. This Chamber Choir from the University of Limpopo, South Africa is touring the United States, specifically visiting colleges and universities to learn more about music in academic settings. Under the direction of founder Dr. Thabe Matsatbatlela, South African Dancing Voices presents philanthropic concerts throughout the year, donating proceeds to local charities and schools. Now the administration of the University of Limpopo has asked the choir to explore opportunities of incorporating their work into the academic structure of the school.

While in Tennessee, South African Dancing Voices will join Union University Singers and the Union University Orchestra in two performances of Vivaldi's Gloria. The first will be Wednesday, September 25, 6:00 at First Baptist Church, Jackson. The second will be Thursday, September 26, 7:00 at First Baptist Church, Memphis. Both concerts will feature additional selections by the individual choirs and are free and open to the public. The choir will also visit several area high schools before traveling to Clemson, South Carolina for similar experiences.

Faculty Organ Recital in September

Terry McRobertsTerry McRoberts will present a faculty organ recital on the Visser-Rowland organ in G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m. The delightful Toccata and Fugue in F Major by Buxtehude opens the program. Following is the lovely Chaconne in F Minor, which exhibits the wonderful way that Pachelbel could compose a set of variations. The Third Mendelssohn Organ Sonata based on Psalm 130 is the dramatic centerpiece of the program, and is followed by a set of variations on Hymn to Joy by Charles Callahan. The popular Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach will bring the program to a triumphant conclusion. There is no admission charge, and the public is cordially invited to attend.

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