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HAVE MERCY
ARS NOVA MUSICIANS HELP SCHOOL CELEBRATE WITH CREATIVE WORKS

When you have something to celebrate, nothing fills the bill like music. It's like champagne. Music is uplifting, it can fill you with infectious joy, and it expresses, in subtle ways, feelings that words can't express.

That's why, when Mount Mercy Academy decided to roll up the rugs and celebrate its 100th anniversary, the school turned to the Ars Nova Musicians.

Everyone is invited to the chamber orchestra's concert, which takes place Sunday. Admission is by free-will offering. The Ars Nova's music director, Marylouise Nanna, emphasizes that there's something on the program for everyone.

The centerpiece of the evening will be Mozart's exquisite Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K. 453. Pianist Claudia Hoca will be the soloist.

The concerto's creative instrumentation -- take, for instance, the marvelous oboe solo that begins the slow movement -- should spotlight the virtuosity of the Ars Nova musicians, many of whom belong to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

"I was studying the work this morning and was marveling at how wonderfully it was written," Nanna says. "The blending of the winds with the strings, by themselves and with the piano is done in such a wonderful way."

Also on the program are Rossini's overture to "La Scala di Seta"; Aaron Copland's "Quiet City"; and a Suite for Strings based on folk songs by the ebullient English composer John Rutter.

"Handel on the Strand," by Percy Grainger, is something of a curiosity. "It's a clog dance. It has that bouncy quality," Nanna says. "I guess Grainger wrote it for a friend, because the friend imagined Handel going down this street, one of the places in England where they had, I guess, vaudeville, light entertainment."

In tribute to the Irish roots of South Buffalo and Mount Mercy Academy, the orchestra will also play "An Irish Melody," by Frank Bridge.

Guest artists, besides Hoca, include Paul Schlossman on English horn and also Alex Jokipii, the BPO's principal trumpet player.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Mercy Center Chapel, 625 Abbott Road. For ticket information, call 825-8796.

Join the band
And the band played on! In this day and age, that's no small accomplishment. With all the recent cuts and financial upheaval, the BPO has been feeling the pinch as much as anyone.

Here's how to get involved and make sure our acclaimed orchestra survives. Join the BPO Volunteer Foundation.

Besides helping out, volunteers have fun and have many opportunities to get to know music and musicians. In addition to staffing the gift boutique at Kleinhans Music Hall, the BPO Volunteer Foundation is a major force behind social events. The group plays host to BPO Instrument Zoo, informal receptions where kids and adults can get to know various instruments and musicians. And the volunteers also help plan and organize special events, such as "The Joy of Music Making," an upcoming evening at the Park Country Club that will explore the life and music of Mozart.

Want to join the team? Call the foundation, at 885-0204, or e-mail the group at volunteerfoundation@bpo.org.

e-mail: mkunz@buffnews.com