College of Music concert series returns, featuring composers

For more than a decade, the College of Music has hosted the West Circle Series, concerts featuring artists from the university.

The first concert in the series, “Lift Every Voice,” is scheduled for Monday, October 25 at 7:30 pm at the Fairchild Theater.

“(Lift Every Voice) features music from under-represented composers,” said Deborah Moriarty, piano teacher and West Circle Series Coordinator.

Professors, including Moriarty, will perform, as well as a group of percussion students from the African Diaspora.

“The first gig is an eclectic gig,” Moriarty said. “Usually what we have is a concert guide, and this concert we have a storyteller.”

Jazz Studies Director Rodney Whitaker will be the storyteller for “Lift Every Voice,” Moriarty said.

“Each performer will tell a life story about who they are, and some of them, how they got into music,” Moriarty said. “And we will present a photo of them.”

During the concert, the public will get general information about artists that they would not find in a biography.

“One of the weird things a lot of times about classical music is that people come on stage and play – and of course music is a language; we speak through what we say musically – but (audience members) don’t often get to hear us speak or get a sense of who we are, ”Moriarty said.

This is the second “Lift Every Voice” concert and the first of four in the West Circle series.

After “Lift Every Voice” there will be three more concerts in the series.

“Bach in the United States” on Monday, December 6, talks about the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, his lineage and the music of the Baroque era. “Happy Birthday Mozart” on Monday January 24 celebrates the birthday of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “Legends” on Monday, April 4 is a concert and multimedia experience that examines the correlation between classic and modern video game music.

All concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairchild Theater.

Tickets can be purchased online. Student tickets cost $ 7, senior tickets $ 15, and adult tickets $ 17.


Moriarty said the West Circle series is unique because it features different sets on the same program.

“It would be an incredibly expensive thing to do on a professional concert series,” Moriarty said. “Getting all these different people and groups to play is really only possible in a university. … We have a great faculty that likes to work together and that likes to play together, so that gives us the opportunity to do this kind of concert series.

Since the Wharton Center focused on Broadway, Moriarty said the College of Music is primarily responsible for providing chamber music to the greater East Lansing area.

“There is a need for this,” Moriarty said. “People love it and it’s a much more intimate kind of music, and the Fairchild Theater – where we play – is a much smaller venue, so you’re really a lot closer to the performers.”

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