A special benefit concert titled "Letter From Home: Aaron Copland's America" will be held at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church.
The concert is in memory of William Carter Cutlip, a well-loved St. Philip's parishioner, and proceeds will benefit the programs for kids and youths at St. Philip's.
A reception featuring wine and hors d'oeuvres will precede the concert at 6:15 p.m. in the Murphey Gallery. The reception will include an online auction of paintings by two contemporary artists.
The multimedia concert, written and conceived by Kevin Justus, will feature works by Aaron Copland from 1939-54, including "Old American Songs" and "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson," compositions for violin, viola and piano, and excerpts from film scores.
The cast of performers includes local musicians Mary Paul, Larry Alexander, Benjamin Nisbet and Yvonne Creanga, among others, and actors David Alexander Johnston and Elizabeth Young as narrators.
Former Tucson mezzo-soprano Korby Myrick and her pianist husband, Richard Hereld, will return to Tucson for the concert.
The Zephyrus Wind Quintet and the Bella Carita Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Thomas Cockrell, will also be featured.
Copland was a man who was quintessentially American, always believing in the ideals and possibilities of this "grand democratic experiment" on the North American continent. Copland himself represented the best principles of 20th-century America, coming from an immigrant and Jewish family, and rising to the pinnacles of artistic and pedagogical success, in the process giving America its particular musical voice.
Throughout his life, even when the realities of the world were harshest - particularly World War II and its aftermath - Copland was always an idealist.
He is best known for the works he wrote in the 1930s and '40s, including the ballets "Appalachian Spring," "Billy the Kid," "Rodeo" and the now ubiquitous "Fanfare for the Common Man."
The multimedia concert "Letter From Home" represents Copland's career from 1939 to 1954, using works that are not frequently heard, such as the Emily Dickinson songs and his works for organ, excerpts from his film scores and music he wrote for the radio.
Tickets for the concert are available at the door for a suggested $25. A $50 ticket for the pre-concert reception includes preferred seating for the concert. Reception tickets may be purchased for $2 more at www.stphilipstucson.org online. You can also bid for the paintings at that website.
St. Philip's is at 4440 N. Campbell Ave. at East River Road. Parking is available in the north parking lot or under the solar covered parking structure on the east side. The office phone is 299-6421.
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