Choral ensemble presents Bach cantata, Venetian works

The UA Collegium Musicum returns to the Arizona Senior Academy Monday evening to perform a secular cantata by Bach and various polychoral motets and madrigals of the Venetian masters.

Director Brent Rogers will be making his final appearance with the ensemble as he completes his doctoral requirements in choral conducting.

Rogers has chosen pieces that showcase the development of the polychoral style in the Renaissance as well as a unique work of the Baroque master, Johann Sebastian Bach.

Among Bach’s many cantatas, only a handful use secular subjects. His “Tonet ihr Pauken” (BWV 214) — written to honor the birthday of Maria Josepha, queen of Poland — opens with a striking chorus punctuated by timpani, trumpets, winds and strings. Internal movements feature different soloists and obbligato instruments, and the chorus returns for the final movement.

The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., also includes selections by Adriano Willaert, Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni Gabrieli and Giovanni’s pupil, Heinrich Schutz.

The Collegium Musicum is a vocal ensemble of university students and community members specializing in choral music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The group is led by a rotation of university doctoral candidates in choral conducting.

Leslie Nitzberg


Composer Brandon

on mariachi music

Since moving to Arizona in 2009, composer Sy Brandon has been teaching a variety of classes about music for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Yavapai College. He recently decided to add mariachi music to his teaching repertoire, and proceeded to delve into the history, performers and styles of mariachi music to create a workshop on the topic.

The Arizona Senior Academy will reap the benefit of his efforts when Brandon visits at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to present a lecture on mariachi music. His talk will include a discussion of the history, artists and styles of mariachi music and videos to illustrate the discussion.

Brandon is a professor emeritus of music from Millersville University in Pennsylvania, where he taught for 24 years. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in music education from Ithaca College and his doctoral degree in composition from the University of Arizona.

Performances of his music have been heard on NPR’s “Performance Today” and TV’s “Animal Planet.” He has composed for young musicians as well as professionals, utilizing jazz and folk music in addition to writing in more abstract styles.

He was commissioned by the Arizona Commission on the Arts to write the band composition celebrating Arizona’s Centennial in 2012. His “Arizona Centennial Overture” pays tribute to the blend of cultures that have shaped the state’s history, musically referencing pioneers and cowboys, Native Americans and Hispanic heritage.

Incorporating mariachi styles into the lively final section of his overture, Brandon captured the spirit of mariachi music. He hopes his presentation at the academy will have the audience smiling and tapping their feet.

Leslie Nitzberg


Cienega Creek watershed: Sustainable or threatened?

The Cienega Creek watershed is a special place, lying south of Interstate 10 in the valley between the Santa Rita and Whetstone mountains. It stretches southward from the Rincon Mountains to the rolling grasslands and woodlands of the Canelo Hills, making the watershed a major biodiversity corridor between the Sonoran Desert and Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert.

The watershed is a mixture of federal, state and private lands. Fractured ownership can lead to watershed degradation, even destruction. Cienega Creek, the core feature of the watershed, is protected by the 70-square-mile Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

But state land, a major ownership, is to be sold to earn money for Arizona. Without careful planning and stewardship, state land sales could open the lands to development and degradation of both creek and watershed.

Mining in the Santa Rita Mountains (such as the proposed Rosemont copper mine) could dry up the watershed and pollute groundwater essential for Cienega Creek. Private land uses closer to I-10, unless carefully managed, pose similar threats .

How can the Cienega Creek watershed be sustainable into the future, given the pressures on it? How can essential water flows be sustained for the watershed? What stewardship must be done by the State Lands Commission, mining interests and private development? What sustainability principles and techniques apply? How can different “parties of interest” come together for common good?

The watershed is featured in the fourth Water Sustainability Seminar at the Arizona Senior Academy from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The seminar features presentations by leadership of the Cienega Watershed Partnership, a volunteer organization committed to preserving the watershed and garnering stewardship for it. Larry Fisher, a member of the partnership and a research professor in the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment, is organizing the event. The presenters are experts from agencies and organizations with responsibilities in the watershed.

Ted Hullar

April 17

Documentary on man who saves wild horses

For those who appreciate the strength and grace of wild horses and want to see one man’s efforts to save them, the documentary “Running Wild” should prove inspirational. The video will be shown on the Arizona Senior Academy’s big screen at 2:30 p.m. April 17.

The documentary, whose full title is “Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde,” premiered last September in New York City and has won awards for best documentary at several film festivals.

It portrays the life of Hyde, an old-style cowboy and steadfast conservationist who has dedicated his life to protecting the wild horses, land and water of the American West.

It features wild mustangs running free on Hyde’s 13,000-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota and scenes shot at his beautiful Yamsi Ranch in Oregon and boyhood lake house in Michigan.

At age 13, Hyde hopped a freight train headed west and began a life journey to defend a fragile and changing natural world, a path that ultimately led him to South Dakota.

There, he created one of the largest wild horse sanctuaries, giving freedom to thousands of mustangs rescued from controversial Bureau of Land Management wild horse roundups.

Footage of these captured wild horses presents a stark contrast to the horses running free on the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

Hyde’s storied past includes experiences as a cowboy, World War II veteran, rodeo clown, champion to sandhill cranes, wolves and coyotes, Life magazine photographer, award-winning author and environmental educator and activist.

Hyde continues his efforts to preserve the environment in his fight against a proposed uranium mining project near Mount Rushmore that has the potential to contaminate the ecosystem and deplete the aquifer that supports life in the Black Hills.

At 88, Hyde says, “It’s going to be my last great battle, but I’m going to win this one.”

Mike Maharry

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