The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

September 9, 2012

5 hot tickets

BECKLEY — The Beckley Concert Association prepares to kick off its 74th season of bringing music to Beckley. Peggy Debnam, BCA publicity chair, said the nonprofit group “is very proud to be able to offer high quality live performances to the community.”

The 2012-2013 season will include five exciting performances at the Woodrow Wilson High School auditorium.

The first performance is coming up this month with The Four Freshman on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Debnam said it has been six years since The Four Freshman have performed in the area and the community submitted many requests to bring them back.

The Four Freshman offer a blend of harmonic jazz and big band that has thrilled audiences around the world. The group dates back to 1948 when four students from Butler University began the vocal band. The current incarnation of The Four Freshman has sung together since 2001 and has been hailed the Best Vocal Group by JazzTimes.

The Beckley Concert Association will host the Daedalus Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

During the quartet’s 11 years, members have been praised for their technical ability as well as quality interpretations of classics.

The group has been applauded by “The New Yorker” as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” and its members are considered young leaders in a new generation of string ensembles.

Daedalus Quartet has played in many of the world’s leading music halls, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Corcoran Gallery.

In December, the Beckley Concert Series will offer a rare holiday concert.

The association welcomes the Roanoke College Choir with the Chamber Orchestra of the Roanoke Symphony’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” and a selection of Bach choral and instrumental favorites.

The choir will be under the direction of special guest conductor Steven White of the Metropolitan Opera.

Debnam explained this concert is the first in a series of Louise B. Wickham Memorial Concerts, made possible by a generous gift from the estate of her daughter, Nancy Wickham.

The Roanoke College Choir is from Salem, Va.

At 2 p.m. March 3, West Virginia University Steel Drum Band and African Music and Dance Ensemble will present an afternoon of world music.

The African Music and Dance Ensemble is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students across various majors and will present traditional and contemporary music of Africa and rooted in Africa.

The ensemble’s mission is to build interest in African arts.

The University’s Steel Drum Band was started by Ellie Mannette, the “father of the modern steel drum” and a National Heritage Fellow.

And finally, the Beckley Concert Association 2012-13 season will wrap up with Seldom Scene and Dr. Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys.

Debnam pointed out that attendees will get two Hall of Fame bluegrass bands in one show.

Seldom Scene began as a recording band in the early 1970s and has continued to received critical acclaim for their work. Their latest CD, “Scenechronized,” recorded in 2007, was nominated for a Grammy award. The group has performed at the White House many times and continues to tour the world, garnering the moniker: “America’s Bluegrass Band.”

Needing no introduction, Dr. Ralph Stanley has been at the forefront of bluegrass for more than 60 years.

Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys are one of the most popular acts in the genre.

Debnam explained that season tickets to the Beckley Concert Series also give you the chance to see The Bluefield Mountain Performing Art Series.

To view the shows offered at Bluefield College, visit www.bluemountainperformingarts.com.

She also explained that contributors and volunteers not only make these concerts available to the community, they provide music workshops for students from local schools.

This season’s programs are presented with financial assistance from West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Get your tickets online at beckleyconcerts.org.

For more information, e-mail the Beckley Concert Association at questions@beckleyconcerts.org or call 304-253-8923 or 304-253-9591.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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