MC Esbenshade Series features variety of musical performances

The Esbenshade Series at Marietta College brings a variety of musical performances to the campus and community this year. Dr. Daniel Monek, director of the series, recently announced the schedule for the 2005-06 season. All performances, unless otherwise noted, take place in the McDonough Center Auditorium of Marietta College at 7:30 p.m.

The Series opens Tuesday, Oct. 18 with Cantus, a male vocal ensemble, performing off campus at St. Mary's Catholic Church (Fourth and Wooster streets, Marietta) beginning at 7:30 p.m. With a repertoire spanning many periods and genres, including Gregorian chant, Renaissance motets, contemporary sacred works, art songs, world music, spirituals, and pop, Cantus is gaining recognition as one of America's finest professional male vocal ensembles.

The Series returns to the home stage in the McDonough Center Auditorium of Marietta College on Tuesday, Nov. 8, with classical guitarist Ana Vidovic. Though barely 23 years of age, Vidovic has won an impressive number of prizes and international competitions all over the world. Equally impressive is that she has already recorded five CDs and has performed in concert in more than 20 countries. A native of Croatia, she was the youngest student (at age 13) to attend the prestigious National Musical Academy in Zagreb where she studied with Professor Istvan Romer. Her reputation in Europe led to an invitation to study at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Md., with Manuel Barrueco, from where she graduated in May 2003. Vidovic will present a program of works by Tooroba, Ponce, Sulek and Piazzolla.

Top Brass takes the stage on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The award-winning ensemble combines brass, woodwind and percussion to perform music that defies categorization. Top Brass will present a program entitled "In the Mood," a compilation of more than 20 ageless hits that will transport audiences to the era when swing was king, and America couldn?t get enough of the big band sound.

Presenting repertoire from their Juno Award nominated CD, "Road to Kashgar," Orchid Ensemble will perform Tuesday, March 7. Acclaimed as "one of the brightest blossoms on the world music scene" (George Straight), the Orchid Ensemble has been developing an innovative musical genre based on the cultural exchange between Western and Asian musicians.

With more than 100 recordings to her credit, nationally acclaimed soprano Julianne Baird is considered one of America's most recorded women. Baird will make her second appearance with the Esbenshade Series on Tuesday, April 11, presenting a program entitled "Benjamin Franklin's Musical World," which celebrates the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth, drawing on music heard by Franklin in England, France, and the United States.

Established through a generous gift in 1980, the series is endowed by the Frederica G. Esbenshade Memorial Fund. All performances are free and open to the public.