The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Oakwood Chamber Players celebrate the holidays this weekend with two performances of seasonal music

November 20, 2018

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By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend the Oakwood Chamber Players (below) continue their 2018-2019 season series “Vignettes” with a holiday concert on this Saturday night, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m.

On the program is a range of musical styles and a charming story set for chamber ensemble and narrator.

The cheery holiday-themed program will include familiar seasonal music, treasured classical composers, entertaining arrangements, and some delightful musical storytelling.

Both concerts will be held at the Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, 6209 Mineral Point Road, on Madison’s far west side near West Towne Mall.

Tickets can be purchased with cash or personal checks at the door: the cost is $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $5 for students. For more information, go to: or call (608) 230-4316.

The program includes music from two beloved classical composers: “Joseph, dearest, Joseph mine” from “Geistliches Wiegenlied” by Johannes Brahms; and Suite of Christmas Songs, Op. 72, by Felix Mendelssohn.

In 1927, “The Adoration of the Magi” (below) by Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, who did many scenes of that subject, inspired Italian composer Ottorino Respighi to create an evocative composition that weaves traditional carols into his musical response to the famous painting. This version has been arranged for chamber ensemble of flute, harp and cello. (You can hear the orchestral version in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

The group will be joined by special guest artist baritone Robert “Bobby” Goderich, who has appeared with the Madison Opera and the Four Seasons Theatre. He will sing an upbeat version of the traditional Welsh Gower Wassail as well as performing Silent Night set for the intimate combination of voice, clarinet and harp.

Central to the program, Goderich (below) will narrate Sweep Dreams, an enchanting tale about a lonely man who falls in love with an enchanted broom that dances in the moonlight.

The story by the late and prize-winning author Nancy Willard (below top) was set to music by the late and renowned American choral composer Stephen Paulus (below bottom), who lived in Minneapolis and created the piece while he was composer-in-residence for the Minnesota Orchestra.

Additional works on the concert are “A Winter’s Night” by American composer Kevin McKee (below) for flugelhorn and harp, Australian composer Percy Grainger’s warm-hearted setting of “Sussex Mummers’ Carol,” and two sunny woodwind quintet settings of beloved holiday songs.

The Oakwood Chamber Players will be joined by a significant array of guest artists: Margaret Mackenzie, harp; Wes Luke, violin; Ariel Garcia, viola; Brad Townsend, bass; Jennifer Morgan, oboe; John Aley trumpet and flugelhorn; Robert “Bobby” Goderich, singer/narrator; Nicholas Bonacio, percussion; and Carrie Backman, conductor.

Regular members, who play with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and other local groups, include: Maggie Darby Townsend, cello; Marilyn Chohaney, flute; Nancy Mackenzie, clarinet; Anne Aley, horn; and Amanda Szczys, bassoon.

This is the second of five concerts in the Oakwood Chamber Players’ 2018-2019 season series entitled Vignettes. Remaining concerts will take place in 2019 on Jan. 12 and 13; March 2 and 3; and May 18 and 19.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for over 30 years.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation.

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Classical music: This week is loaded with terrific FREE vocal and instrumental concerts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College as well as elsewhere.

March 18, 2013
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A REMINDER: The final performance of University Opera’s production of Mascagni’s opera “L’Amico Fritz” will take place Tuesday night at 7:30 in Music Hall. Aldo Perelli and Shannon Prickett (below, in a photo by Brent Nicastro) are featured in starring roles. Here is a link to a review by John W. Barker for Isthmus:

And here is a link to other information including ticket prices, which students sing when, and a Q&A with director William Farlow and some background, including which UW-Madison student sings what roles on what day:

L'Amico Fritz 3 Also Perrelli and Shannon Prickett CR Brent Nicastro

By Jacob Stockinger

I hope it doesn’t feel awkward to lump two competing educational institutions together. But they cooperate more than they compete. Plus, there is so much music this week – again – that it would be hard to fit it all in with each event getting its own post.

So here is a line-up of concerts – all of them are FREE – at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and Edgewood College.


On Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band will perform a concert under director Mike Leckrone (below). Sorry, but no details yet about the program.



On Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductor James Smith (below top), will perform with retiring oboe professor Marc Fink (below bottom).

The program features Respighi’s “Three Botticelli Pictures”; Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C Major, K 314, with Fink as soloist; and Beethoven’s sublime Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, considered by many, including the composer, the be among his best works.

This program sure seems perfectly suited to the First Day of Spring with the impulsive Beethoven, the sensual Italian Renaissance inspirations and the always graceful and charming aria-like lines of Mozart.


marc fink big


Then on Thursday night, at 7:30 in Mills Hall, UW-Madison conductor and graduate student David Grandis (below top) will conduct the UW Symphony Strings in a all-Bizet concert that features three UW-trained singers; mezzo-soprano Jennifer D’Agostino (below second, who used to be known as Jennifer Sams), tenor Daniel O’Dea (below third) and baritone Michael Roemer (below bottom).

The program includes the “Carillon” excerpt from Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne” Suite (The Woman from Arles) and from Bizet’s opera “The Pearl Fishers.” (Hear the fabulous male duet from the opera in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

David Grandis

SOMMA Jennifer Sams D'Agostino

Daniel O'Dea

Michael Roemer naritone


The weekly Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, will feature classical guitarist Jamie Guiscafre, who teaches in Iowa but lives in Madison, performing music by Albeniz, Brouwer and Guiscafre.

Jaime Guiscafre

At 7 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood college Drive, the Edgewood College, the Edgewood College Band (below), under the direction of Walter Rich, will perform a concert.

Along with other featured works, the band will perform Franz von Suppe’s Poet and Peasant Overture, Claude T. Smith’s Incidental Suite, and Brian Balmages’ Summer Dances.

This event, like other arts events at Edgewood College, is presented as part of the Year of the Arts at Edgewood College, a celebration of music, theatre and art for 2012-2013. Supporters of our Year of the Arts programming include the Kohler Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, the Madison Arts Commission, with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, DANE Arts with additional funds from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, Native Capital Investment, and the Ahrens-Washburn Community Fellows Program.

Walter Rich  Edgewood Concert Band 2013-3-22-Band


The weekly “Sunday Live From the Chazen” concert, to be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery 3 and broadcast live statewide on Wisconsin Public Radio, will feature the pianist Namji Kim, who teaches at the UW-Eau Claire.

The program includes Olivier Messiaen’s “Je dors, mais mon coeur veille” (I Sleep but My Heart Keeps Watch) from “Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus” (Twenty Meditations on the Baby Jesus); Hadyn’s Piano Sonata in E-flat major, Hob. XVI 49; Ravel’s “Alborada Del Gracioso”; and Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor Op. 58. 

Dr. Namji Kim

Three Edgewood College Choral Ensembles will perform a concert on Sunday, March 24 at 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive. The Chamber Singers and Men’s Choir (below right and left, respectively) are under the direction of Albert Pinsonneault, while Kathleen Otterson will direct the Women’s Choir (below middle).

Included on the joint program are works by Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Faure, as well as folk songs, spirituals, and selections by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Edgewood Men's and Women's Choirs and Chamber Siungers 3-24-13


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