What: First Friday Concerts at MSU Texas
Where: Akin Auditorium, MSU Texas
When: 5:15 p.m. Nov. 5, Dec. 10
Cost: The concerts are free and can be viewed in person or on live stream at the MSU Texas website.
Music serves a purpose. It can entice dance, help push through that last set at the gym, or simply serve as background noise.The First Friday concerts, through classical music, serve their own purpose.
Dr. Ruth Morrow, professor of music and Bolin Distinguished Chair of Piano started the First Friday Concerts in fall 2020 during COVID. Each concert was held in Akin Auditorium and live streamed to the community giving her the ability to bring music to the people during the pandemic.
“It was a way to keep our audiences engaged and to let people know we at Midwestern are still busy at work and wanting to share music with people,” said Morrow.
While a packed auditorium during COVID was out of the question, Morrow thought of livestreaming concerts as a way to still connect with people and share a little bit of the MSU Texas art scene.
Musicians for the concerts include Morrow, on piano, and other MSU Texas faculty and students. In past concerts, she said, they have paired with the theater department for musical theater pieces and some of the choirs.
Each concert is 20-45 minutes and always starts at 5:15 p.m. At the end of the work day, the short events provide a way to celebrate the end of the week and the start of a new month without taking up the whole evening.
“Last year we had two new faculty members. On the second concert, we had a new woodwind professor so I performed with her on the first half. Our other new faculty member was our choral director, so he and one of the choruses came and took the second half of the program,” Morrow said.
This Friday’s concert will host Morrow as well Matthew Luttrell, the director of bands and orchestra. Luttrell plays trombone and serves as the second trombone of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra.
“Luttrell doesn’t play solo very often so this is a chance to hear him solo. We’re doing a concerto for trombone that really gets to show him off,” Morrow said.
This specific piece, Concerto for Trombone by Ferdinand David, is a Class One solo for high school solo and ensemble competitions. It provides an example of a good performance for those high school students who are wanting to go to state, showing them how it should sound and giving the students a solid base for growth, Morrow said.
“It gives them a performance they can look up to and go, ‘oh that’s what I want to sounds like,’ or ‘I didn’t know the piece sounded like that,’” she said.
Morrow said that the Second Prelude by Gershwin was fitting for this time of year. The Concerto for Trombone is a bold, energetic, monster of a piece. The Gershwin, on the other hand, gives a light the fire and get a beverage of choice feeling where people can just sit and relax while enjoying it.
“Let’s enjoy and find those parts of ourselves that don’t necessarily need soothing, but we are all so busy that sometimes we forget to kind of nurture that part of ourselves. This is a piece that I think can help with that,” Morrow said.
December’s concert will be held on the second Friday of the month, Dec. 10, and will feature Christmas music ranging from classical holiday music to popular and sacred pieces. Morrow is hoping to throw in a catchy rendition of “Dreidel, My Dreidel,” along with some beautiful arrangements of Christmas music.
The concert provides the perfect start to the holiday season, giving the community a way to come together and enjoy holiday music.
The concerts are free and visitors can attend in person at Akin Auditorium or view it live streamed online.
A live stream of the concert can be viewed through the MSU Texas page at https://msutexas.edu/academics/finearts/music/live-event.php