The Western Kansas String Academy at Fort Hays State University has been preparing for winter since mid-September with Saturday morning practices, private lessons and concerts. WKSA members, comprised of K-12th grade string and guitar students taught by FHSU music faculty and majors, have been polishing their skills for a concert-filled weekend on Dec. 8 and 9.
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the FHSU campus, WKSA will present its Winter 2007 Concert. The following day, from 12:30 to 1 p.m. at the Fox Pavilion, the students, from Hays and the surrounding region, will perform as part of the Frost Fest Holiday Extravaganza.
The Winter Concert starts with more traditional ensembles and music. String groups perform such pieces as "French Folk Song," "Hopak" by Mussorgsky and the first movement of Mozart's "Symphony No.25 in G Minor." The guitar classes' performance will include "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven and "Waltz" by Brahms.
The second half of the Winter Concert features alternative string and guitar music, including Miles Davis' "Freddie the Freeloader" performed by the WKSA Jazz Improv Ensemble, Metallica's "Unforgiven" performed by WKSA’s Rocking Strings Group, and “Bill Cheetam” played by the WKSA Fiddling Group.
The concert ends with a special presentation of " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas," a musical arrangement of Clement Clarke Moore’s holiday poem, played by the WKSA Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras and narrated by Craig Manteuffel, band director at Hays High School.
WKSA's appearance at the Fox Pavilion will include a presentation of "Berlioz the Bear," the children’s picture book by Jan Brett. This dramatic musical story will be read by Dr. Doug Drabkin, associate professor of philosophy, and features music composed by FHSU student Makenzi Rempe, Plainville senior. Performers include FHSU students Jordan Bollig, Schoenchen sophomore; Alexis Korbe, Hays senior; Katie Steinert, Lyons senior; and the WKSA Beginner Orchestra and Guitar II class. The story will also be acted out by WKSA members.
The Frost Fest concert will also feature a second performance of " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas," directed by Matt Means, FHSU professor of music, and Joe Perniciaro (pronounced pear-nih-CHAIR-oh), instructor of music.
Other FHSU students involved in the productions are listed by hometown and classification.
HAYS: Cody Custer, sophomore; Shawn Demuth, senior; Alex Toepfer, senior; and Leslie Watson, freshman.
HUTCHINSON: Alex Heisler, sophomore, and Sarah Mann, freshman.
OLATHE: Stephan Berg, freshman.
ULYSSES: Jarrett Henson, sophomore.
WAKEENEY: Jason Kucerik, senior.