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Southern Crescent Chorale to sing Schubert at Spivey

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Classical music fans will have a chance to hear the range of Franz Schubert's piano and choral compositions Saturday, when the Southern Crescent Chorale hosts "An Evening of Schubert."

The concert will take place at 8:15 p.m., at Spivey Hall at Clayton State University.

Janice Folsom, artistic director and conductor of the chorale, will lead the 70-member group in a rendition of Schubert's "Mass No. 2 in G major." Marty Alexander, a church musician from Fayetteville, will accompany the performers on the 4,413-pipe Fratelli Ruffatti organ at Spivey Hall.

The concert will also include several of Schubert's solo piano works performed by Christi Muse Zuniga, principal keyboardist for the Omaha Symphony, and a Clayton State University alumna. The evening will be rounded out by several of Schubert's most popular vocal ensemble pieces, sung by guest soloists Gina Harvey, Kurt-Alexander Zeller and John LaForge.

Sam Dixon, executive and artistic director of Spivey Hall, said the concert will give listeners a unique window into the versatility of Schubert.

"Schubert was a very humble man, he was a quiet man, and he was a genius," said Dixon. "He produced a huge amount of work in a life span of less than 40 years. This is kind of big Schubert and intimate Schubert, all in one program. That is not something that every chorale group does."

Folsom, who has conducted the chorale since its inception in 2002, said this will be the first time the group has performed a concert entirely of Schubert's works. She believes the Viennese composer's works are more approachable than the works of other Romantic-era composers, and as such, the concert will be well received by the community.

"I think you could say that Schubert's music was more delicate compared to composers like Wagner and Tchaikovsky," Folsom said. "It's very romantic and very emotional. If you've never heard Schubert and you came to this concert, I think a person would be surprised by how emotionally moving his work is. They will be able to follow along and see how the music fits in with the words. Schubert had a real knack for that."

Zuniga, a former pianist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, will perform Schubert's "Impromptu in E flat major," "Impromptu in G flat major," "Piano Piece in E flat major," and "Impromptu in A flat major."

Zuniga said Saturday's concert will be her first solo piano concert since graduating from Clayton State University.

"I haven't given a solo recital since 1993 when I did my senior recital," she said. "It's nice to come back to my old stomping grounds. This is the first time I have done something like this in 16 years. It's kind of gotten me more excited about doing some more solo work.

"Just driving into the campus, the butterflies came back," Zuniga said. "I'm hoping I can play the music expressively and relay the beauty of Schubert's music."

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students, and can be purchased by calling (678) 466-4200 or by visiting www.spiveyhall.org.