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October 31, 2012

DWU’s new string ensemble to perform first concert

MITCHELL — Strings have returned to Dakota Wesleyan’s campus and their music will be heard community-wide during the ensemble’s inaugural concert with a piece written just for them.

DWU’s  new string ensemble, LyricWood, will have its first concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Sherman Center, and is free and open to the public.

The ensemble is conducted by Elizabeth Soladay, director of the DWU strings program.

The concert will include a new work for string orchestra that was written in honor of the inaugural concert by Dr. Stephen Yarbrough, an emeritus professor of composition at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion.

“The work that Dr. Yarbrough has written begins with an exuberant sweep of ascending passage work,” Soladay said. “There is a short, contrasting chorale  section that shows off the warmth and depth of the string sound, and then the piece returns to joyous ascending sweeps to celebrate the birth of a new string ensemble and a new piece of music.”

The piece is titled, “LyricWood Overture.”  The concert closes with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

“If you listen carefully, you can hear rhythmic and melodic building blocks that the two pieces share,” she added.

Yarbrough will also attend a luncheon with DWU honors students on Nov. 5.

Also featured on the program will be mezzo-soprano Erin Desmond, who joins the strings for Yarbrough’s “In Memoriam.” Desmond is also the director of the Mitchell Area Children’s Choir and is an instructor of voice and piano at DWU.

Soladay, a Fulton native, comes back to Mitchell after a long and successful career in Los Angeles as a director of choirs at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Beverly Hills. She was also the principal violist of the Pacific Palisades Symphony Orchestra and served on its board of directors. She now maintains a private teaching studio, is the organist and director of choirs at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Alexandria, and is a violist in the South Dakota Symphony, serving on the players’ association board. She joined the Dakota Wesleyan University music staff as the director of the strings program and keyboard instructor this fall.
“It is a delight to help bring a string presence back to Mitchell,” she said. “I was a child, playing in Paul Scheuerle’s DWU/community orchestra, the last time there was any serious string-playing going on in Mitchell. I must recognize the invaluable help of my colleagues, Beth Neitzert (concertmaster) and Marian Casey (specialist in low strings). Also, I cannot praise the players enough.  The Yarbrough piece is very demanding; we have all worked very hard in LyricWood’s rehearsals.”

If interested in joining LyricWood, please contact Soladay at elsolada@dwu.edu. Rehearsals are Monday evenings at Dakota Wesleyan.


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Last updated: 10/31/12