SHEPHERDSTOWN – Starting tonight, the 2021-2022 Shepherd University Music Show Series, sponsored by Jefferson Security Bank, returns to live performances, starting with a free concert featuring the music of saxophonist John Coltrane to celebrate what would have been Coltrane’s 95th birthday. The series offers several free concerts for the community.
The first concert in the series is tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Butcher Center Plaza.
“Members of the public should provide their own seats such as folding chairs, stools or blankets,” the press release said. “The event will be moved to the Frank Center Theater in the event of inclement weather.”
Shepherd University School of Music Principal Dr Kurtis Adams and Faculty Assistant Bassist Kevin Pace will perform at the concert tonight with guitarist Peter Heiss and drummer Kelton Norris.
A jazz saxophonist by training, Adams said performing in person again was exciting for the musicians.
“I am very excited to be playing for the public again. The last year has been very difficult for musicians and artists, as we all know. I’m sure most people understand the financial hardships performing artists endure as a result of the pandemic and the exceptional challenges we face as educators in the performing arts, ”Adams said. “What some may not understand is also the emotional burden it places on us. As musicians, performers and artists, we seek to connect with people through our art. That’s why we focus on it first. When faced with a situation in which we cannot perform, we feel a sense of loss. “
Adams said that last year, the department worked hard to give students and faculty opportunities to share their artistic talent through pre-recorded concert videos or live streamed recitals.
“It gave us all the opportunity to continue our work, but we certainly missed having people with us to share the music,” Adams said. “This series is such a beautiful showcase of the musical talents of our shepherding faculty. We have an amazing group of musicians who work with our students. The series is very family-friendly and is a wonderful way to show children a larger musical world. As a parent of young children, I take them to concerts whenever I can. “
Adams said attending the show series will provide the opportunity to hear a diverse set of music.
“Each of the concerts is very different, including jazz, classical, Appalachian / Mexican folk music, and contemporary improvised music with an Afro-beat influence,” he said. “One of my favorite parts of the Salon series is seeing students see and hear their instructors play. It is such an inspiring experience for them. Many thanks to Jefferson Security Bank. They have supported the Salon series for several years. We really couldn’t present these recitals without their generosity.
Dr. Yu-Hsuan Liao, associate professor of music at Shepherd, is also involved in the series and looks forward to the diversity of the event.
“In addition to showcasing the immense talent of the teachers at the Shepherd School of Music, the series also regularly invites several famous musicians from around the world. I look forward to the various programs that feature music from various styles, periods and diasporas, ”she said.
Beginning classical piano at the age of 5 in Taiwan, Liao will also perform for the duration of the series.
Other concerts in the show series slated for fall at the Frank Center Theater on October 7 include Shepherd University saxophone professor Jeremy Koch and pianist Molly Orlando performing piano and saxophone works by composers contemporaries.
Additionally, a concert will be held on November 11, which will feature assistant professor and bassist Shepherd Robin Rhodes, pianist Scott Patterson and vocalist Max Bent perform selections from the AfroHouse house concert experiment, which will, according to the press release, “featuring disruptive, exuberant, innovative, emerging and transformative Afro-futuristic music, with lush rhythms, noise and harmonies.
Those attending in-person performances will need to follow Shepherd’s current policies on COVID-19.
There is a page on the Shepherd site, www.berger.edu, to visit to learn about current policies, including the current mask mandate inside campus buildings – whether vaccinated or not.
Attending live events at the Frank Center requires sitting only in designated rows and leaving at least two empty seats between groups of unrelated audience members.
For more information on the series, visit www.berger.edu.