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Thirtieth Concerto-Aria Set for Feb. 16

February 4, 2004

The inaugural event in 1974 was the brainchild of former OBU piano faculty member Clair McGavern, and featured four solo pianists. McGavern believed that students needed an opportunity to perform large-scale works with orchestra, and initiated the Concerto-Aria project to fill that need. McGavern served as a member of the OBU faculty for several decades, working as a piano faculty member, assistant dean of the college of fine arts under Dean Warren M. Angell (for whom the college is now named), golf coach, curriculum adviser, and piano technician.

On the 1975 concert McGavern performed the Grieg piano concerto. Two students are performing movements from this concerto on this year's anniversary concert.

"It is exciting to be able to honor someone who worked so diligently on behalf of the Division of Music," said Dr. Kristen Todd, assistant professor of music history. "I am proud to be associated with a university with such a long tradition of musical excellence."

This year's event is in honor of McGavern's work and will be attended by his wife and son Keith, who currently serves as OBU's piano technician.

Eleven soloists will be featured, including vocalists Lindsay Doolin of Lawton, Michael Slaughter of Oklahoma City, Robbie Willingham of Tulsa, Sarah Rose of Edmond, and Jillian Russell of Chickasha. Pianists Dustin Tims of Seminole, Stacey Miller of Plains, Kan., and Anna Kurtz of Heber Springs, Ark., will also perform. Instrumentalists on the program include Tulsa's Katie Cease, oboe, and Edmond's Laura Sowell, clarinet. Composer Sara Moring of Tecumseh will conduct a performance of her honors thesis work, "An Affray of Two Within."

Composers represented on the concert, in addition to Moring, include Johann Strauss, Mozart, Handel, Gounod, Puccini, Rachmaninoff, Marcello, Karl Stamitz, and Grieg.

The students are from the vocal studios of OBU faculty members Norma Partridge and Rhetta Hudson, piano studios of Dr. Ron Lewis and Dr. Carol Bell, the oboe studio of Cynthia Thompson, clarinet studio of Dr. Chris Bade, and composition studio of Dr. James Vernon.

Vernon, chair of the Division of Music, will conduct the performance.

"Musical performance is the natural and desired outcome of musical study, and this year's Concert-Aria program reflects the dedication of our music majors to study their art. I am proud to work with such dedicated and competent young musicians," said Vernon. "The concert will be a fine tribute to the legacy of Concert-Aria at OBU and to the future of music performance."

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Division of Music in the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts at, or 405-878-2306.