Anderson, Indiana

ASO concert on Saturday to feature AU grad Meaghan Sands

Fri, 2011-02-11 10:35 -- univcomm
February 11, 2011

Anderson Symphony Orchestra Conductor Rick Sowers, of course, had no idea the recent winter storm would come a week before a concert titled “Dreaming of Summer (...in the deep of winter).”

But now, as he looks back, it couldn’t be more fitting. Everybody’s dreaming of summer this weekend.

meaghan-sands“When we have weather like we’ve had this week, sometimes we think about how great it will be when summer rolls around,” said Sowers, professor of music at Anderson University.

For example, the symphonic poem “Siegfried Idyll” was reportedly written by Richard Wagner during the summer as he sat next to a lake at Munich, Germany.

As the second of the three works to be performed, Sowers selected Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite” because it sounded “summery.”

[Photo: 2010 Anderson University graduate Meaghan Sands watches conductor Rick Sowers as she rehearses with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. Credit: John P. Cleary/The Herald Bulletin.]

The concert will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Paramount Theatre, 1124 Meridian Plaza. Tickets are available.

Though not especially Valentine’s Day music, patrons can receive a $5 discount if they buy a pair of tickets and mention the code “luvmusic” or type it into the promotional code box at www.andersonsymphony.org.

Due to recent water damage to the basement of the Paramount, the symphony has also increased its per-seat payment to the Paramount, said Dana Stone, executive director of the symphony.

The damage, now repaired, did not affect the symphony.

There will also be a booth at Saturday’s concert where couples can purchase photos.

“It’s a way to get into the Valentine’s mood even thought it’s not a Valentine’s concert,” Stone said.

AU grad Sands featured

Capping Saturday’s concert will be soprano Meaghan Sands, a recent Anderson University graduate who sings with the symphony on “In Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” by American composer Samuel Barber.

In 1947, Barber took a selection of a poem by James Agee, born in Knoxville, and written as an ode to his deceased father.

Part of the lyrics are:

“All my people are larger bodies than mine, with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds....

“One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night.

“May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.”

The work is performed in English. Sands finds the lyrics especially meaningful and moving.

“I can’t reiterate how lucky I am to sing this piece. It’s so beautiful. I know the poet, James Agee, wrote this piece while his father was dying,” Sands said. “It’s kind of looking back at this person’s childhood memories.”

She added, “How can anybody foresee how sorrowful the earth is when you’re lying on a quilt in the grass in the summer in Knoxville? It paints so many beautiful pictures.”

Sands and Sowers had worked together at Anderson University. Among his roles, Sowers is director of the AU Chorale, where Sands has been a member.

Sands, 22, has performed in AU opera productions, including last season’s Into the Woods. A native of upper New York state, she is auditioning for singing roles and seeking graduate education.

“She has that quality to her singing that it’s not just a beautiful sound but she sings with such understanding,” Sowers said.

He added, “She’s so expressive that when I thought about soloists, I immediately thought about her."

— Scott L. Miley is associate features editor at The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.