At any rate, last Thursday I enjoyed an evening of "ekphrastic" poetry featuring poets from Southeastern reading at the Polk County County Art Museum. They were responding to large canvases of imaginary seascapes. Their words left me with a desire to listen to whale songs and shrimp songs. A composition is forthcoming.
If you're not familiar with the term "ekphrastic" I suggest looking it up as it's a fun one to know.
On Saturday night, I had the privilege of coordinating a concert to conclude the 2015 conference of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Our aim was to convey a sense of diversity, and we did so with a range of ensembles and repertoire including
- a piano solo from Arthur Farwell's Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas
- a Chinese folk song sung by a colleague
- a pasodoble played by our string quartet
- a string quintet I wrote based on a phrase from King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail
- several Latin selections played by our big band and a combo
Then on Sunday, I attended the Central Florida Bach Festival where soloists, choristers, and instrumentalists were joined by the Florida Southern Girls Choir, which Kathy conducts, for an inspired afternoon of Bach.
The program was the life Christ through the works of Bach, a "What if Bach wrote Messiah?" if you will. Movements from various cantatas and from the Christmas oratorio and St. John Passion were masterfully programmed to create a new oratorio of sorts. It was a combination of works Bach could possibly have arranged that way but didn't. The audience was exhilerated by the experience.
I expect to remember these rich days for a long time.
SPS Concert Remarks
My name is Charles Hulin and I am the chair of the Department of Music at Southeastern University. On behalf of our music students and faculty, I want you know that we consider it an honor and a privilege to share with you this evening. It is our sincere prayer that the Spirit will use this musical offering to provide each of you some distinct blessing as you go from this place.
In choosing the repertoire for this occasion, we sought to create an atmosphere of reflection as well as celebration. And in keeping with the nature of this conference, we are also presenting works that move beyond some of the usual boundaries of our music-making.
We begin with a performance by one of our piano majors, Caitlynn Christiensen. She will be playing an early 20th century work by the American composer Arthur Farwell. It is titled “Receiving the Messenger” and it comes from Farwell’s work Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas, which expresses both the composer’s European schooling and his engagement with Native American culture.
Next, Dr. Shudong Braamse, one of our voice faculty members, will perform a stirring Chinese song in which the singer, who has travelled far from home, addresses her mother. She says to her, “When the ripples in the river smile at you, when the bamboo flutes are played for you, when a beautiful boat is sailing toward you, when you hear a folksong floating from far way – that is me!”
We now turn to our string students for a very famous piece of Spanish dance music, a joyful pasodoble by Pascuel Narro. Our string quartet consists of Wesley Mason and John Morgan Roe on violins, Lorenzo Sanchez on viola, and Ronnie Wiesniewski on cello.
Violinist Winter Jackson and percussionist Mike Tuck will join the quartet for our next work, which is an arrangement of the spiritual “Deep River.” A few years back, I wrote this arrangement to commemorate Martin Luther King Day. Its title “Psalm of Brotherhood” comes from a passage in King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he wrote: “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” (I would submit that in some ways it might still be that time.)
Now is it is my pleasure to introduce my colleague and friend, Dr. Mark Belfast and the Southeastern University Jazz Ensemble.