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Rhodes Trumpeters To Perform In Opera Memphis’ AIDA

Publication Date: 10/6/2010

On Oct. 7 and 9, three Rhodes students and their professor will perform in Opera Memphis’ production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the Orpheum Theatre. Brad Hensley ’12, Robin O’Neil ’11, Courtney Strachan’13 and Dr. Joseph Montelione, director of orchestral music at Rhodes, will perform the onstage trumpet parts in the “triumphal scene” of the opera.

“Performing in a professional organization like Opera Memphis is a great opportunity for these students,” says Montelione. “That is experience you can’t get in a classroom.”

To prepare for the performance, Montelione and his students have been practicing as an ensemble since August. They now are rehearsing with the opera company and symphony every night until the performances. The Rhodes group also joined these musicians Sept. 21 at the Clark Opera Memphis Center to perform a live broadcast of the opera for National Public Radio. Montelione says that this is a rare opportunity for fine arts students on campus.

“The trumpet studio has grown a lot since I have been here, and to my knowledge, this is the first time the studio has ever worked outside the gates of Rhodes,” says Montelione.

The opera takes place in ancient Egypt, and the Rhodes ensemble will perform dressed in Egyptian military costumes. For the scene, the performers needed herald trumpets, which have especially long bells and resemble those used in ancient Egypt. Rhodes did not own any, so Montelione requested and was awarded a grant for four new trumpets through Rhodes’ Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA). 

The Rhodes ensemble is one of several organizations involved in the performances. Montelione says others include the Memphis Symphony and professional opera singers from outside of Memphis. The triumphal march scene even features lives animals from the Memphis Zoo.

“These types of musical and life experiences, whether or not my students major in music and become professional musicians, help them grow,” says Montelione.

Performances are Oct. 7 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets can be purchased through CODA for $5. Contact Liz Daggett at daggette@rhodes.edu

(l-r) Brad Hensley, Courtney Strachan, Robin O’Neil, Dr. Joseph Montelione

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ′13)

Tags: Arts/Performances, Faculty, Students

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