Composer-in-Residence Honors Women’s History Month – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Composer-in-Residence Honors Women’s History Month

Composer's work will be featured in two musical events, and the Colleges' Chorale's spring program
(Feb. 23, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.–In a nod to Women's History Month, Hobart and William Smith Colleges bring to campus noted female composer Ruth Watson Henderson. As composer-in-residence on Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3, she will speak to music history classes and discuss her music, often inspired by and written for a church setting, with students who will be performing her works in concert.

This is the second year an artist has been featured “in-residence” at the Colleges; last year composer Adolphus Hailstork visited for Black History Month. The program was started in order to introduce students to different forms of music and associate with a composer who is still alive, particularly to hear from the composer the history and ideas behind his or her works.

“It's exciting for me personally to learn some new music and have the person who wrote it right there,” said MaryAnn Hamilton, Colleges organist and carilloneur and organizer of Watson Henderson's visit.

Watson Henderson is a native of Toronto, Canada, and studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the Mannes Colleges of Music in New York City. For many years, she has been the accompanist for the Elmer Iseler Festival Singers and the Toronto Children's Chorus. She has had works commissioned by many choirs, including numerous works for children. Although she is best known for her choral compositions, Henderson has also written works for string orchestra and for winds, brass and percussion, as well as solo pieces for organ.

Celebrations of her music will include a themed “Music, Meditation and Munchies” and a “Concert of Compositions.”

The Music, Meditation and Munchies series will feature the organ compositions of Watson Henderson at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, in St. John's Chapel. Included in the program will be “Variations for Organ on 'Ode to Newfoundland,'” “Toccata and Fugue in memory of Gerald Bales,” two hymn preludes and the award-winning “Chromatic Partita.” Admission is free; those attending are invited to bring a lunch and stay for the meditation and refreshments.

A “Concert of Compositions” will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, in St. John's Chapel, preceded by a pre-concert chat with Watson Henderson at 7:15 p.m. in the Fisher Center, Demarest Hall room 212. Featured in this program will be the Colleges Chorale, directed by Professor Robert Cowles, singing two love songs, the St. Peter's Community Junior Choir, directed by Wendra Trowbridge, and the Colleges Brass and Wind Ensembles, directed by Professor James Trowbridge and Professor John Oberbrunner, respectively, performing “Theme, Variations and Fugue for Winds, Brass and Percussion.” The program will include additional vocal and organ pieces as well. The concert is free and open to the public.

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