Department to provide Viennese music night

By Kathryn Kelman/ ne news editor

NE music instructor and choir director Stan Paschal works with students as they learn their parts for a song they will perform during the Dessert Theater.
Kathryn Kelman/The Collegian

With a new director in charge, the NE Campus Dessert Theater March 28 will be a little different than it has been in the past. 

Dessert Theater has been held every semester for at least the last three years, music instructor and choir director Stan Paschal said. Paschal stepped into the role of choir director in January after former director Bobbie Douglas retired in December.

“My immediate predecessor began the event as an opportunity for the small vocal group to be featured,” Paschal said.

Paschal didn’t want to give up the date or time slot, so he opted to make the event different from previous years. A Night in Vienna features performances by the choir, string students, dancers and some music faculty, he said.

“Vienna has always been a European center for culture, and some of the most famous chefs and desserts have come from Vienna,” he said about the Austrian capital. “I wanted it to be a light-hearted evening, and dessert is my favorite part of the meal, so why not start there?”

Paschal’s vision is for audience members to feel more like guests at a party and for the musicians and dancers to not just provide entertainment but complement their desserts as well, he said.

“It’s intended to be a festive evening, not a concert, necessarily,” he said.

The concept of Viennese desserts had to be adapted, but a variety of cakes will be purchased both in terms of flour-based cakes and items like cheesecakes. Dessert will be available along with water, coffee and tea at the event, Paschal said.

“And while they won’t be from Vie a Paris bakery, they’ll be good,” he said.

The event will feature music by Johann Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Alban Berg. All of the music that will be played or sung will be music written in Vienna, by a Viennese composer and/or performed in Vienna, Paschal said.

“A lot of the music coming from Vienna is also very light-hearted,” he said. “It’s known as being a party city as far as the wealthy are concerned ’cause they sponsored a lot of the most wonderful music.”

Dancers will interpret three of Brahms’ Opus 39 waltzes that he composed for piano, Paschal said.

“[The waltzes] are going to be played on two pianos simultaneously, and the dancers are going to be dancing some of those waltzes as they are being played,” he said. “So we’ll get a coordination of what we hear and what we see.”

When the doors open, the string students will play Strauss waltzes to provide ambient music for guests while they’re grabbing desserts and getting in place, Paschal said.

“And then when the program proper starts, some of them will also be playing additional music by Strauss,” he said.

Music department chair and instructor Karen Parsons said she hopes audience members will arrive early for the prelude music performed by NE music and dance students.

“Our music students are excited about showing off their work,” she said.

Music department faculty members will also perform throughout the evening.

The event is a great opportunity for people to hear some beautiful music in a comfortable setting, Paschal said.

The doors for Dessert Theater will open at 6:25 p.m. in the Darlage Center Corner (NSTU 1615A) on NE Campus.

For more information, contact Paschal at stan.paschal@tccd.edu or 817-515-6236.