TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The story of Elijah, one of the Bible’s greatest prophets, will be told through the conjoined sound of song and classical instruments as the Huxford Symphony Orchestra and University Singers present “Elijah” April 21, 7:30 p.m. at The University of Alabama’s Moody Music Concert Hall.
“The University Singers are the premiere ensemble in the voice area, and the Huxford Orchestra is our premiere orchestra,” said Charles “Skip” Snead, director of UA’s School of Music. “They’ll be on stage together combining forces to do one of the major pieces of literature in history, which is ‘Elijah,’ written by Felix Mendelssohn in the mid-1800s.
“’Elijah’ is a very engaging piece and is absolutely beautiful to listen to. It’s been a very long time since this piece has been performed, several decades at least. It’s a very large piece, and it takes a lot of people to do it. It’s a wonderful opportunity for someone in our community to hear it because it’s so rarely performed live.”
Thursday’s combined concert is the grand finale of the concert season for both music ensembles. Snead said they’ve been preparing to perform “Elijah” for the past several months, rehearsing weekly for hours.
The concert is also the final performance of nationally acclaimed director of choral activity Dr. John H. Ratledge II, who retires at the end of the spring semester.
“Dr. John Ratledge has been with us for a total of 12 years in the choral program,” Snead said. “He has been an extremely important faculty member here, and he has transformed the program. It was not known as a national program when he got here, and he has put it on the national map.
“It’s sad to see him retire because he’s an important member of our faculty, but he’s at a point in his life where he wants to take on something else.”
The performance runs approximately two hours. It cost $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 55 and up and $3 for students and children.
“Even folks who might be intimidated by listening to a classical performance can get into this,” Snead said. “From start to finish it’s absolutely compelling, and I’m convinced that it’s a wonderful performance to be enjoyed by people from all walks of life.”
The School of Music is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the college have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships, Truman Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.