Since 1987, Wake Forest University’s Secrest Artists Series has been bringing world-class performances to the Reynolda campus.
For the first time in the Secrest series’ history, students will take the stage with professionals to sing one of the most famous and challenging choral-orchestral works in the classical repertoire.
“This is an unusual and outstanding opportunity for our students,” says Lillian Shelton, director of the Secrest Artists Series. “The conductor, Philippe Entremont, is an international superstar in the classical world. It will be a rare experience for both the students performing and the audience. “
Senior Erin Devine, one of the students singing in the performance, is a business and enterprise major and music minor from Pittsburgh, Pa. She worked as an intern for the Secrest Artist Series last year and was involved in the performance selection process for the 2011-12 season.
“The Series advisory panel knew we wanted a big orchestra event that students, faculty, staff and members of the community would want to attend. But of the hundreds of options, who would be best? I helped review all the materials that agents sent and was part of the conversations about which program would most likely draw the interest we wanted,” says Devine. “To see that work culminate in the Munich Symphony Orchestra coming to campus is even more exciting, because I’ll be singing in the program with other Wake Forest students.”
As a public relations and marketing intern with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., this summer, Devine worked to engage people in the arts and boost attendance at concerts and performances. Now she says she is on the other side of the program — performing in an event of the caliber she was once working to promote.
She and fellow student performers have been practicing since September with Wake Forest Associate Professor of Music Brian Gorelick. The group will practice before the performance with Entremont conducting.
“Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ is one of the five great choral-orchestral works in Western music history, and it is performed hundreds of times around the world every year. Each performance is unique because of the leadership of the conductor,” says Gorelick. “Philippe Entremont will bring to Thursday’s performance his specialized and thorough musical training and expertise, and his artistic vision of the power of Mozart’s musical ideas. He knows how the work has been performed over the last several decades as well as its origins in Vienna of the 1790s and will use all this to inform the performance, creating a profound musical experience for the listeners.”
“Being able to perform with the Gloriae dei Cantores under Phillipe Entremont’s direction will completely turn around our experience of music at Wake Forest,” says Devine. “It will certainly be something I’ll always remember.”
The Secrest Artists Series is endowed by Marion Secrest, a local performing arts patron, in honor of her deceased husband, Willis Secrest.