With spring just around the corner, Southern Oregon University's music department is planning a number of concerts to show the public how talented its vocal and instrumental musicians are.




Things get underway at 8 p.m. Monday, March 10, when the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Theresa McCoy, will present "Journeys Stories." The program will feature a variety of works for percussion ensembles.




Featured works will include Christopher Rouse's "Ogoun Badagris," for percussion ensemble. This piece derives its inspiration from Haitian drumming patterns and various aspects of Voodoo ritual. Ogoun Badgris is one of the most terrible and violent of all Voodoo deities and this piece features conga drums, log drums, tom toms, metal plates, lion's roar, cymbals and gourds.




Also featured will be two pieces by John Cage: "Living Room Music" and "Double Music" co-written with Lou Harrison. "Gymel" by William Duckworth employs four marimbas on a musical journey determined by the path each performer elects to follow in this chance (or Aleatoric) piece. It is a minimalist piece based on repeating patterns that performers select en route to the end. Also on the program will be will be the SOU Marimba Band performing several works from Guatemala.




An evening of instrumental jazz follows at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12. Featured groups will be the SOU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Martin Behnke, and the newly formed "Little Big Band." The 18-piece Jazz Ensemble will perform standard big band fare, including music written by Thelonious Monk, Hank Levy, Matt Harris, Bob Curnow and a new original piece by director Martin Behnke. The Little Big Band will include music written by Chick Corea, Jeff Lorber and Tom Scott.




The Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group that studies the music of the past century written for large jazz ensembles and prepares it for performance. The Little Big Band, an 11-piece group that includes vocalist Sharise Blaylock, explores music written expressly for this kind of group, as well as contemporary jazz standards.




The SOU Symphonic Band will present "Sonic Impressions" at 8 p.m. Thursday March 13, under the direction of Cynthia Hutton. The concert features works that reflect painting, architecture and legend. The program includes a tone poem by German composer Ralph Ruden, "The Dreams of Oenghus," John Gibson's "Resting in the Peace of His Hands," Norman Dello Joio's "Scenes from the Louvre" and Leemand's "The March of the Belgian Paratroopers." Also featured will be SOU oboe instructor Kristin Kessler performing Rimsky-Korsakov's Variation on a Theme by Glinka for oboe and wind instruments. The SOU Symphonic Band is comprised of 55 musicians and is the university's sole concert band.




The Jefferson State Choral Coalition will welcome guest artist Beth Baker for its "Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher" concert at — and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 15. Kirby Shaw directs the 45-person university/community ensemble and invited instrumentalists backing up Baker for ballads, gospel, jazz, classic rock and Broadway show tunes.




All concerts will be held in the SOU Music Recital Hall, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. Tickets are $8 for general admission except for the concert with Beth Baker which is $15, with all profits going toward an endowed scholarship fund for SOU Music Majors. Students are admitted to all concerts for free. Tickets and season passes are available at the Music Box Office prior to the performance or by calling 552-6101. For more information, see /music.