Oklahoma Baptist University

Bisonettes “Ladies Sing the Blues” in Concert April 29, to Debut “Elegy for Trains”

OBU’s Bisonette Glee Club will present the program “Ladies Sing the Blues” on Tuesday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bisonette Glee Club is the premiere women’s chorus on OBU’s campus. The concert will feature the uniquely American musical style of the blues.

The program will feature the premiere of the new work “Elegy for Trains,” with poetry and lyrics by OBU professor Dr. Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis professor of literature, and music by Dr. James Vernon, professor of music. The 15-minute work for women’s choir, brass ensemble and piano explores the rich vocabulary of Myers’ poetry, published in his 2010 collection “Elegy for Trains,” which won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for poetry. The music portrays the poetry in a variety of ways, but the use of blues forms, sounds, and colors are central to the work. The poem elegizes the poet’s father through metaphorical language associated with the trains of the poet’s early life, their proximity to his boyhood home, and their slow demise over the last decades of the 20th century.

Other works on the program also explore the blues theme. “One and Only,” by the popular artist Adele, was inspired by the British vocalist’s tour of the southern United States in 2009 and appears on her record-breaking album “21.” Another work by well-known choral composer Rosephanye Powell utilizes the texts of the Psalms in a lament titled “As the Deer Pants for Water.” A traditional spiritual, “Give Me Jesus,” is also included in this set of blues-inspired works. Other selections include a traditional fiddle tune “Cripple Creek,” a Spanish folk song “El Vito,” and the OBU premiere of a work by British composer Sarah Quartel titled “Songbird.”

Featured artists on the program will be Bisonette Glee Club members Taylor Thompson and Megan Mattke on piano; vocal soloist Joy Knight; Sarah Gore on violin; Erica Bass, Laurel Page, and Kate Dodgen on percussion; Emily Eubanks and Robyn Blanchard on flute; and conductors Brittni Bilyeu and Haylee Dowler. In addition, guest artists will include Dr. Casey Gerber, Dr. Kevin Pruiett, Ryan Meeks, and Dr. Randolph Johnson of the OBU music faculty, and OBU students Thomas Whitmore, Kathleen Houston, Morganne Garcia, Mason McCormick, and Kirsten Scarbrough.

For more information about this concert or any music event at OBU, contact the Division of Music Office at (405) 585-4301 or visit the music website.

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