Coe Concert Choir to present “Shakespeare in Song”

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2012-04-04 16:10:23 - General

The Coe College Concert Choir will present a program showcasing music and lyrics inspired by the work of William Shakespeare.  The concert will be held on Sunday, April 15, beginning at 4 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium.  It is free and open to the public.

Under the direction of visiting conductor Dr. Fred Kiser, each work is set to texts from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.  The first two pieces were written by contemporary composers to Shakespeare:  “It Was a Lover and His Lass” by Thomas Morley and “Hark, Hark the Lark” by Benjamin Cooke.

The major work of the program is Ralph Vaughan Williams’ setting of text from “The Merchant of Venice,” “Serenade to Music.”  The piece will feature several Coe student soloists including Hailee Gehrls, Ian Bergeron, Tanner McClenahan, Kathrine Black, Beth Rouintree, Thomas Smit, Evan Troendle, and Elizabeth Goldstein, as well as extensive piano solos by Coe Teaching Artist in Piano and choir accompanist Marita Wolgast.

George Shearing was a prominent jazz pianist and composer of the 20th century.  He also set several Shakespeare texts in a jazz idiom entitled “Music to Hear,” including several sonnets.  Contemporary composer Carl Nygard also set several Shakespeare texts in dance and blues styles.  “Three Shakespeare Songs” includes “O Mistress Mine,” “Take, O Take, Those Lips Away” and “Hey Nonny, Nonny.”

Matthew Harris drew on texts from Shakespeare’s plays and combined them with popular music styles, including a be-bob arrangement of “O Heart,” featuring student soloist Sarah Gemlo.  The concert concludes with “It was a Lover and His Lass,” a signature tune of the Swingle Singers – a British a capella jazz group led by Ward Swingle.

For more information, call 399-8521.