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Music and Art, Inspired by the Earth!


South Shore Orchestra, will present their second concert of their Fusion of Art and Music season with Earth Tones on Friday October 4 at 7 PM in Ivy Tech Auditorium Theater. SSO has been in rehearsal since August preparing the featured music which all has been inspired by the Earth! The program will include the ever popular Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe, and new pieces created by husband and wife composers Michael Schelle and Miko Sasaki of Indianapolis.

Schelle’s piece, Sun Wukong--the Monkey King, is a world premier featuring the antics and powers of a Chinese folklore figure. SSO cellist, Josh DeVries, will be the featured soloist. The piece will also be showcased on the Bridge to Beijing SSO concert tour in December. Sasaki’s piece The Earth is Alive, will offer yet another lively interpretation of Earth Tones. It was recently commissioned and performed by the Fort Smith Arkansas Symphony.

Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite was inspired by a camping trip to Arizona in 1916 where the teen aged musician witnessed the break of day and was instantly spellbound by the unfolding of light and nature’s awakening at daybreak. He once shared that words were never adequate enough to describe that moment, so he used the language he knew best--music.

Grofe tried to replicate all the natural sounds of nature from birds chirping to storming thunderclouds with unusual and uncommon stretches of instrumentation as well as creative added sound effects. It is easy to imagine a burro winding down the canyon trail with a familiar syncopated clip clop of the hooves during the movement On the Trail. Other movements of the suite include Sunrise, Painted Dessert, Sunset and Cloudburst.

Ferdinand Rudoff von Grofe grew up in Los Angeles. Quitting school at 13, he had a variety of jobs, and even played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a violist, but most notably as a pianist, often in saloons. There he picked up on early jazz rhythms and when popular bandleader Paul Whiteman recognized his talent, he joined Whiteman’s new symphonic jazz orchestra as musician but eventually became its orchestrator working on projects such as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It was that experience that made him consider using that daybreak experience to compose his own signature piece. Grand Canyon Suite was debuted in Chicago in 1931 at the Studebaker Theater.

Recent artwork inspired by the Earth by Lindsay Clemmens and Vera Wu will be on display in the lobby from 6-7 where you can also meet with the members of the orchestra, soloists and the conductor before the concert. Tickets are sold at the door or can be secured online at southshoreorchestra.org. Tickets are Adults $15. Seniors and Students $10. Children under 12 FREE. Ivy Tech Auditorium is located at 3100 Ivy Tech Drive. Ample, lighted, free parking is available.

The orchestra is in its 9th year with 60 members who are residents of the South Shore Region. Many of them play in other region orchestras, or are music educators or there are many who work in other careers that are using their professional training to share their love for making music. SSO performs three times a year and often does a New Year’s guest tour with the Confucius Institute of Valparaiso University bringing the universal language of music to several cities in China. SSO’s mission is to orchestrate a musical community through performance opportunities for musicians and audiences while creating an awareness for historically and culturally rich music. Its goal is to keep music accessible and enriching for community. Please join us for this eventful concert.

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