Arts and Entertainment

Oak Harbor choir program recital explores 800 years of music

Music has changed drastically in just the past 20 years — imagine how it has changed in the past 800 years. A lecture-recital presented by Oak Harbor High School Choir Director Darren McCoy will begin with a time when music wasn’t written down and the idea of harmony didn’t exist.

“The Art in Music” recital takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at Oak Harbor High School. Tickets cost $5 and are available at the door or by emailing Proceeds benefit the choir department.

McCoy, who is the recipient of the KCTS 9 Golden Apple award and who was voted best teacher through the Whidbey News-Times’ Best of Whidbey awards in 2012, will be joined by community members including Oak Harbor City Councilwoman Tara Hizon, Oak Harbor Christian School voice teacher Meredith Reichman, Whidbey Playhouse actress Heather Good and other local musicians.

Music and a slideshow will guide the audience through the past 800 years of music, how it evolved and how it affected or was affected by world events.

“I wanted to do a recital that was both entertaining to see kinds of music people don’t really do anymore live, and something that would be educational for students,” McCoy said.

McCoy started planning the recital months ago and has put a great deal of research into the lecture. Not only did he search for music that was most important during each era, but he researched how world events reflected the music of the era.

For example, “Dies Irae” is part of a chant for a requiem mass for the dead. It translates as “Day of Wrath,” McCoy said.

“It’s the perfect kind of explanation for what’s going on in the world,” McCoy said. The Crusades were in full swing at the time, and Genghis Khan had killed about 20 percent of the people in the world. Then followed the Black Plague, again decimating the population, McCoy said.

While McCoy said he doesn’t expect people to fall in love with classical music by hearing more of it, “I think it is the human condition to like to learn.”

“Knowing where music actually came from gives them an appreciation for just how much music has grown and how much it actually affects their life, whether they know it or not,” McCoy continued.

A lot of people in this community do like classical music, McCoy said, and they may enjoy hearing how it changed “from before it was written down to the time of Napoleon to George Washington.”

“People sometimes need a timeline,” McCoy said. “And it’s a lot more fun than a recital where you sing seven songs and then you’re done.”

Through this fundraiser, McCoy said he hopes to raise money for the choir program to buy microphones for the stage. These would benefit the entire high school music program as well as community groups that use the high school’s stage.


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