WSU Performing Arts plans holiday concerts

For those students who’ll be sticking around Ogden for the holiday break, the Weber State University performing arts department is gearing up for several performances. Three free musical performances will occur in the Browning Center in the two weeks of break.

On Nov. 30, an evening of chamber music will be performed by the Browning String Quartet. The performance will take place in the Allred Theater at 7:30 p.m. The Browning String Quartet is comprised of four WSU string teachers: Shi-Hwa Wang and Ann Cox on violins, Michael Palumbo on viola and Viktor Uzur on cello.

Cox, a 2004 WSU graduate and current adjunct violin instructor, has been playing the violin since she was nine. In addition to playing with the Browning String Quartet, Cox plays with the Ballet West Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Ogden. Having been both a student and an adjunct violin instructor at WSU, Cox said she has had a lot of experience with the music department instructors.

“I really enjoy working with Dr. Wang, Dr. Palumbo and Dr. Uzur,” she said. “They’re amazing musicians, and they inspire me every week. It’s so fun to play amazing music with very skilled musicians.”

According to Cox, a student attending this night of string music can expect a great concert.

“We love sharing great quartet repertoire with our audiences,” Cox said. “As we work throughout the semester, each piece we play goes through a transformation from the moment we first sightread the piece, to the end when we know it so well, and it takes shape and becomes our own.”

Another free string performance is set to take place on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Garrison Choral Room. The String Chamber Ensemble will feature WSU violin, viola, cello and double bass students. Palumbo, the violin instructor and director of orchestral studies at WSU, works closely with these students.

“This performance involves every single string player in the orchestra program,” he said.

Attendees can expect to hear music from Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.

Also to perform next month is the WSU String Project. The performance will take place on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Austad Auditorium.

String Project participants range from third-grade to high school students. The project is supported by grants from the Weber County Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks, the WSU College of Arts and Humanities and Ogden City Arts. The program depends on donations to continue with low-tuition costs.

Elissa Krebs is one of the master teachers in the String Project.

“Essentially, String Project is an after-school orchestra program designed to give students stringed instrument study at a low cost while simultaneously allowing WSU students who are music education majors to intern as teachers,” Krebs said. “This job gives them valuable experience in the classroom long before any of them get to their student teaching. This program does a tremendous amount of good in our community.”

According to Krebs, the concert is a big deal for the String Project students. For some, it is their first performance.

“My favorite thing about the String Project concerts is seeing all the students dressed up and so excited to play,” she said. “At a time when arts education is on the decline, I’m so proud to be a part of a program that promotes music education and that makes it widely available and affordable to students.”

Children from three String Project sites, WSU, Shadow Valley Elementary School and Odyssey Elementary School, will participate in this program.