Courtesy of Tamara Morris
When Ohio State’s School of Music hosts an annual concert this weekend, the performers will keep audience members on their toes.
Ensembles will be located in several areas of the auditorium, including the aisles, and will use every available space, said Richard Blatti, professor and director of the School of Music.
“Even the big groups will come and go,” Blatti said. “We’ll wear shoe socks or no shoes, so when the lighting is somewhere else and your attention is drawn somewhere else those people will move and be out of the way and the next group will be in place.”
The School of Music is scheduled to set the holiday mood with its 20th Annual Music Celebration Concert 8 p.m. Friday in Mershon Auditorium.
Around 20 ensembles, comprised in total of 250-300 students and representing genres such as jazz and classical music with solo acts, glee clubs and large groups, will take the stage.
The Music Celebration Concert is different from other School of Music concerts in that it has no breaks between performances and uses lighting to draw the attention of audience members.
“The concert is a collage-type style,” said Tamara Morris, publicity coordinator for the School of Music. “There’s no applause in between (performances), and the ensembles are located throughout Mershon Auditorium.”
Blatti, who is also co-founder of the Celebration Concert, said the annual performance did not begin as a holiday show.
“I think we talked about doing it in the spring, and the more people that got involved the more we put it off and we finally ended up going to the following school year,” Blatti said.
The ensembles and songs change annually, Blatti said, and are carefully chosen by a committee.
“The only thing that stays year-to-year is the Hallelujah chorus,” Blatti said.
Tim Donel, production manager for the School of Music, said the lighting and sound work together for the sake of the audience.
“They have special, unique lighting set up for each of the positions out in the house,” Donel said. “For example, if you’re seated on the floor under the balcony you won’t be able to see anything that takes place on the balcony but you’ll be able to hear it.”
This year’s songs range from Eric Clapton’s “Layla” to Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s classical piece “Pines of Rome.”
Each piece will range from five minutes for large ensembles to three minutes for small groups of performers, and the concert is expected to last about 90 minutes with one intermission.
Blatti said the committee keeps the audience guessing by following songs in the program with something different than the previous song, such as variances in tempo, size of group and key.
The Music Celebration Concert has grown to have a loyal following over the years, and this year Blatti has made the concert free for students, faculty and staff with a BuckID.
“(President E. Gordon Gee is) almost always there – he’ll be there this year – the deans are there,” Blatti said. “It’s a nice night to celebrate music and celebrate the School of Music.”
Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for ConcertCard holders, senior citizens, Alumni Association members, non-OSU students and children.