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Hays Symphony “American Tapestry” Concert Features Soprano Ivalah Allen

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

The Hays Symphony will be presenting its first Masterworks Concert, American Tapestry, on October 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Brian Buckstead, Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola at FHSU.

Reexperience a bustling era of music inspired by post-WWII American optimism. The featured composers—Barber, Diamond, Gould and Riegger—represent 20th century American musicians who were influenced by European masters yet managed to capture the bold, adventurous spirit of America.

In Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a small boy listens to the energetic sounds of life around his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Samuel Barber mimics this musical onomatopoeia by filling his score with atmospheric, stylistic tricks. Listeners will find themselves wandering between childlike feelings of loneliness and wonder alike.

Dr. Ivalah Allen, FHSU Associate Professor and accomplished soprano, has performed as soloist on operatic, symphonic, and oratorio stages throughout the Midwest. She will grace the stage again to deliver Barber’s lyrics.

The Masterworks I Concert is set to include three other prominent works.

David Diamond’s vibrant yet flowing Round for String Orchestra (1944) became a hit with many household-named conductors of the time wanting to program it, including Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.

Wallingford Constantine Riegger’s work, Dance Rhythms (1954), is full of playful pizzicato in the strings, stabbing notes from the timpani, striking syncopation and lyrical melodies throughout the winds.

Lastly, Morton Gould’s brisk American Symphonette No. 2 (1938) excites with vigor and bounce through its lively blend of classical and jazz elements.

Like with all Hays Symphony concerts, attendance is free and open to the public. Following the concert, attendees are invited to the hall’s lobby to meet the musicians at the post-concert reception. This reception is made possible by generous support from the Downtown Hays Development Corporation.

Attendees are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance on the symphony’s website at where they can also make donations to sustain free classical music in the Hays community.

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