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Music faculty to welcome spring with free concert

Although the weather over the last few days has done its best to prove otherwise, spring finally begins on Thursday, and six members of William & Mary’s Department of Music are set to welcome the new season with a faculty concert.

The “Sounds of Spring: From Classical to Jazz” concert will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday in Ewell Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Neal Cary is one of six music faculty members who will perform in the concert. Photo by Stephen Salpukas.The first half of the concert will offer classical music with piano and cello duos. The second half will be a performance of “Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio.”

“It’s the most delightful piece,” said Judy Zwerdling Zwelling, director of applied music. “It’s a combination of classical and jazz. It’s just very fun and charming.”

All of the players in the concert are members of the W&M Performing Artist Faculty: Neal Cary, cello, director of the W&M String Ensemble and the first cellist for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra; Christine Niehaus, piano; Jennifer Lawson, flute, member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra; Zwelling, piano; Jordan Ponzi, jazz bass; and John Lindberg, drums, director of W&M Percussion Ensemble and a recent retiree from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Although students often perform on the stage of Ewell Recital Hall, it isn’t often that members of the music faculty perform together, said Zwelling. However, in recent years, the department has been trying to change that, hosting occasional concerts to showcase faculty performers, many of whom are members of professional symphonies.

The idea for the spring concert was developed by Zwelling and Niehaus, who, at first, had intended to do a two-person piano concert.

“And then I started thinking, well, for spring, it would be really fun to do this other kind of concert,” said Zwelling. “It was a way to get six of us to participate instead of just a couple of people. We thought that would be a really fun idea.”

Having a chance to perform together is not only enjoyable for the faculty members involved, but for their students, as well, Zwelling said.

“Students love seeing their teachers perform,” she said. “Most of them don’t see their teachers perform because most of them aren’t going to go to Richmond or Norfolk to see the symphonies, so I think it’s a great thing to inspire the students and get them to experience different kinds of music.”

The Department of Music hopes to make faculty concerts like the one on Thursday a more regular occurrence.

“We hope this will become a regular thing where we have two to three of these a year because we have such talented music faculty and they’re all doing all kinds of performing all over the place, so why not here?”