Recital, concert to showcase UW-Green Bay’s Wood Family Organ Dec. 2 and 3

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay music program will offer campus and community members the chance to hear the University’s Wood Family Organ in performances Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

The first organ performance will come by way of a recital from Michael Stefanek, a UW-Green Bay staff accompanist and the organist and choral accompanist at First United Methodist Church in Green Bay. He will perform at noon Friday, Dec. 2, playing an eclectic mix of works ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to the Green Bay Packers fight song. A native of Green Bay, Stefanek has a bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin (Ohio) Conservatory and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. The recital is free and open to the public.

Stefanek and the Wood Family Organ also will be featured Saturday, Dec. 3 during the UW-Green Bay Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band Concert at the Weidner Center. This 7:30 p.m. event will include the UWGB Chorale and Phoenix Brass Ensemble, peforming as special guests. Saturday’s concert will feature the organ on several compositions, ranging from Percy Grainger’s “Ye Banks and Braes O’Bonny Doon” to Richard Wagner’s majestic “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin.” The UWGB Chorale, directed by Assistant Prof. Randall Meder, will join with the UWGB Wind Ensemble to perform three songs set by the iconic American composer Aaron Copland — “At the River,” “Long, Long Ago” and “The Walls of Zion.” Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Information is available at www.uwgb.edu/music/events.asp.

The Wood Family Organ is a Cassavant frères instrument with 44 stops and 68 ranks, and is among the largest instruments of its kind in the state. The 3,702-pipe organ was among the milestone contributions of University donors Fred and Patricia Wood Baer.

The organ performance events will offer the University and the larger community a special musical opportunity that few campuses UW-Green Bay’s size can offer, said Kevin Collins, director of bands and music program chair. Music faculty and performers are excited to explore new avenues for collaboration with the Weidner given the campus initiative to revitalize the center, Collins added.

“We really hope people can come over during their lunch hour and hear this truly magnificent instrument, and a wonderful performer,” he said, “and that they’ll be inspired to come back again on Saturday to hear the instrument in its full glory with our woodwinds, brass and percussion. Both performances promise to be memorable.”

Saturday’s concert will be the 14th of the 2011-12 season for the UW-Green Bay music program. UW-Green Bay is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

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