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Art and Music Collaborators Bring Earth Tones to Life

Two important collaborative efforts will be showcased for all South Shore residents when South Shore Orchestra presents their concert next Friday! Original and colorful music and newly created art will again be the platform for an enjoyable evening for all.

A world premier of an amazing piece of music will take you to a world with primal percussion, a flurry of cello string magic and stunning orchestral sound! Composed by Michael Schelle, the piece was commissioned by SSO when young cellist Josh DeVries of Chesterton approached Maestro Troy Webdell with the idea of creating a gift of music for our generous Chinese hosts who have sponsored two SSO concert tours and one musical in multiple Chinese cities over the last five years. Josh participated in the first and second tour.

Schelle who has worked with SSO in the past was thrilled to take up the challenge. Josh shared ”The original idea for Sun-Wukong, The Monkey King was to give a new piece of music to our audiences in China, as a symbol of our continuing cultural exchange and sign of our gratitude. No matter how confident I felt about the importance of this exchange and giving this gift to our audiences, I had zero idea as to how Michael Schelle was going to put that idea into music. But what he has done is beyond anything I expected-he has created a piece that avoids any simple "East meets West" match ups, instead fusing both a Chinese and American aesthetic into one coherent concerto. The work ranges emotionally exhilarating--and physically exhausting!!--to calm, and meditative. I am looking forward both to premiering it here in the Northwest Indiana and taking the piece on tour this December on the Bridge to Beijing.


After rehearsal last Wednesday evening, Schelle reported on his site, “SUN-WUKONG is in the final stages of rehearsal now, featuring cellist Josh DeVries, conductor Troy Webdell, and the South Shore Orchestra. I traveled to Valparaiso yesterday to work with the players and was thrilled with what I saw and heard. The orchestra is doing a great job, Maestro Webdell is in excellent form - complete and total command - he knows every measure of the new score with authority and nuance."

Finally, cellist Joshua DeVries is an absolute marvel - this young musician (a HS senior!) is the real deal. Josh has taken on the challenging solo cello part with passion, commitment and his playing is out of this world. Dead-on intonation, rapid linear passage work with fire and accuracy, and slower emotionally-charged sections with the maturity of someone 3 times his age - I couldn't be happier - -move over, Yo Yo Ma !!

Another extraordinary work composed by Miho Sasaki, Schelle’s wife, titled Ryuki, the Earth is Alive. It was written in response to the March 11, 2011 earthquake that triggered one of the most devastating tsunami’s ever. The music details the textural preliminary moments before and the discord, shift and slide caused by the earth’s quaking and the momentum of human emotion that unfolded in the days to come.

Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite will take us on an American journey though one of our own wonders of the world from the breaking of day to the close of night. His symphonic masterful vocabulary will treat us to a musical travelogue to the bottom of the trail.


Two visual artists will showcase their new work to compliment the evening’s music. Lindsey Clemens, a former music student of Maestro Webdell’s in Crown Point, now an illustrator, will showcase her brightly appointed work created from a love for music and flair for poster art. She hopes to explore and blur the boundaries of fine art and illustration and be able to work more with musicians and bands, creating art to help promote their work.

Vera Wu will share her beautiful Chinese florals and cultural characters created in watercolor, pen and ink. Both artists will be on display before the concert in the lobby of Ivy Tech Auditorium Theater beginning at 6:15 PM and available to talk about their work. The conductor, composers, soloist and some of the musicians will also be available to socialize with the audience before hand, giving more insight to the music and the art. The concert is Friday, October 4 at 7 pm in the IVY Tech Auditorium Theatre in Valparaiso. Tickets are available at the door--Adults $15, Seniors and Students $10, Children under 12 Free.


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