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By Parth Upadhyaya

When James and Susan Moeser Auditorium at Hill Hall was unveiled in February of 2017, the UNC Department of Music decided to host an event that would showcase the wide range of talents housed within the department.

The UNC Wind Ensemble rehearses for the upcoming Spectrum Concert.

The grand opening of Moeser Auditorium came after a $15 million renovation that transformed the former Hill Hall Auditorium into a state-of-the-art performance venue. This new space was a physical demonstration of UNC Music’s growth and led to the first-ever Spectrum Concert displaying the talent and musical diversity of the department.

On Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 pm, the department will host its third-annual Spectrum Concert at Moeser Auditorium. This time, UNC Music will celebrate another milestone: it’s 100th birthday.

Following the same musical buffet-style format as the first two iterations, the scholarship benefit concert will feature 15 ensembles that will perform for about four minutes each.

A few of the groups that will take the stage are the UNC Chamber Singers, Carolina Choir, UNC Jazz, Marching Tar Heels, Carolina Bluegrass Band, UNC Opera, and Charanga Carolina.

Evan Feldman, the chair of the concert committee and Director of Wind Studies for the department, collaborated with Department Chair Allen Anderson and Director of Choral Activities Susan Klebanow to organize the event.

“You ever go to a fair and people are just handing out samples?” Feldman said. “Isn’t that more fun than just having one dish? That’s what this is.”

Evan Feldman conducting
a rehearsal in Kenan Rehearsal Hall.

Feldman says the Spectrum Concert is a great way for the department to showcase its growth and try to attract a larger audience than it would with a concert that features only one group.

“That’s kind of what we’re also hoping here, that someone will come and say, ‘I usually like jazz, but I didn’t know that group existed,’” Feldman said. “‘And they’re pretty cool. Maybe I’ll come to
their concert.’”

Anderson, who praises Feldman’s leadership in organizing the event, composed a piece that will be played for the first time during the concert by the UNC Violin Studio. He says the number of different styles of music on display will allow Spectrum to live up to its name.

“How much variety there is, both in the type of music and the sources, just continues all the way through the program,” Anderson said.

Aside from the several musical performances, the program will also feature speakers — distinguished professor Dr. Tim Carter and Ph.D. candidate Sarah Tomlinson.

Carter will introduce UNC Opera’s performance and Tomlinson will speak on her graduate research on the history and current practice of classical music programming for children’s audiences in the United States.

Dr. Allen Anderson

In his third semester as chair, Anderson emphasizes the importance of the representation of scholars in the department. This representation is something he’s seen grow since he began working in the department in 1996.

“I think that’s important, just to show the kind of things that we do,” Anderson said. “In part, because to the outside observer … everybody thinks you’re performing. But we’re also thinking, talking about and looking at the history, the cultural context for the music that happens. It’s not lost on us how music plays a role in all that.”

With a showcase lasting approximately 90 minutes, UNC Music will show a lot of what it has to offer and display how far it’s come since 1919. But Feldman says only demonstrating this to students and faculty of the department would be like “preaching to the choir.”

“Part of our challenge is to get that message out beyond the walls of the three music buildings,” Feldman said. “And this gives us a little bit of an excuse to do that because we can cast a very
wide net.”

Ultimately, Feldman hopes that the samples the different ensembles will hand out at this musical buffet will make audience members come back for more.

“Then you figure, ‘I never knew I liked that dish,’” Feldman said. “‘Maybe next time, I’ll order a full plate of it.’”

For more information about this concert, click here.

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