100 high school musicians to perform Over 100 talented high school string players from a four-state region will give a free concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 18 in Knutson Theatre on the USD campus.
The students, nominated by their local orchestra directors, will assemble at 9 a.m. that morning for a day of rehearsals and exploration of the music in the United States during the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Thomas Jefferson was an amateur violinist, and had a large library of works, including concerti grossi by Arcangelo Corelli. One of these will open the program, with selected student soloists.
Next, Rawlins Fellow graduate student Emily Feekes will perform French violin virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps's set of variations on Yankee Doodle. The traditional tune was originally set to words by the British to mock the colonials who assisted them in the French and Indian War, but became an American favorite and symbol of national pride as years progressed. Man touring European virtuosos improvised variations on the theme when laying concerts in this country during the 19th century.
The orchestra will then play the canon When Jesus Wep't by William Billings, the best known of the first school of native-born American composers. Dubbed the First New England School by American music historian H. Wiley Hitchcock, these composers were entirely self-taught, figuring out rules for composition through trial and error. The music is rugged and hearty, and survives today in traditions of church music found in volumes such as the Sacred Harp.
Next there will be a demonstration of fiddling, with a guest leading the students in a fiddling workshop at 3 p.m. in Knutson Theatre. This is also free and open to the public.
The program will conclude with an arrangement of three traditional fiddle tunes by modern American composer Christina Seaborn.