This spring, members of the student choirs at Plymouth State University have been learning about diverse culture and language while studying the rich musical tradition of Finland.
Under the direction of Dr. Dan Perkins, PSU director of choral activities, their study will culminate in concerts featuring the music of Jean Sibelius, Joonas Kokkonen and Einojuhani Rautavaara at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at the Silver Center for the Arts in Plymouth and at 8 p.m. Friday, April 21 at Ste. Marie’s cathedral in Manchester. The singers will be joined by a 65-piece professional orchestra.
Perkins lived in Finland for three years and is fluent in the language. His passion for the culture was the motivating factor in designing this program. He says, “The music of Finland, and Sibelius in particular, has strong nationalistic sentiments, considering Finland’s proximity to Russia and years of foreign oppression. Studying the music of a specific culture serves to deepen the students’ commitment to music in general.”
The Plymouth State University Chamber Singers is a select ensemble of 25 students from a variety of PSU academic majors, open to all PSU students by audition. University Chorale is also open to all PSU students by audition. Both ensembles perform significant sacred and secular choral music in concerts on and off campus, and tour annually.
Guest artists for the concert include soloists Debra Lawrence, a soprano from Baltimore, Md. and Steven Small, a baritone from Worcester, Mass.
Dan Perkins is professor of music at Plymouth State University and active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States. Following his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California, Perkins continued his studies as a Fulbright scholar in Helsinki, Finland, where he worked as associate conductor of the Finnish Chamber Choir and of the Savonlinna Opera Festival chorus. He is also music director of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, principal guest conductor of the Vietnamese National opera and ballet, and director of music and organist at Plymouth Congregational Church.
Tickets for the Manchester concert are available at Ted Herbert’s Music in Manchester, at the door, or from any singer. Tickets for the Plymouth program may be purchased at the Silver Center for the Arts box office, (603) 535-ARTS. The box office is open Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $18.