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Southwest Symphony Society to present Texas Electric String Group PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 11:06

• Special to the Leader & Times
The Southwest Symphony Society will present the Texas Electric String Group at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, at the Seward County Community College Area Technical School Showcase Theater. The quartet, featuring electric violins, viola and cello, will perform both classical and popular music selections.  Admission is a free-will donation and refreshments will be served.
“We think this will be an exciting concert, featuring music from Bach to Gershwin to Ozzy Osbourne. This is also the first concert we’ve ever brought into town using electric violins,” said Kay Burtzloff, president of the Southwest Symphony Society.  In addition to their public performance on Monday night, the quartet also will perform at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at Liberal Springs whose residents will be joined by residents from Wheatridge Park Care Center and Good Samaritan Center. They also will work with local musicians in a master class on Tuesday night.
Joining the quartet on drums at the concert on Monday night, will be Grant Mathews, the Southwest Symphony Society’s conductor. 
“Most of our audiences are used to seeing Grant conducting our local orchestra, so now they’ll have a chance to see his talents as a musician,” Burtzloff said. Members of the quartet include Shelly Duell, violin; Cortland Mahoney, violin; Melanie Mann, viola; and Sheri Greening, cello.
“We like to feel out the crowd and keep it spontaneous,” said Duell, the leader of the Texas Electric String Group. Rather than a set program, the Quartet will choose from the following numbers:
o Jupiter – by Gustav Holst, arranged by Deborah Baker Monday
o Gavotte and Air from String Suite No. 3 – by J.S. Bach
o Lullaby – by George Gershwin
o Por Una Cabeza – by Carlos Gardel
o Selections from the Cole Porter Album – arranged by Bert Ligon
o Canon in D – by Henry Purcell
o Irish Washerwoman and Swallowtail Jig – Traditional Irish, arranged by Craig Duncan
Shelly Duell has also arranged the following popular numbers specifically for the quartet:
o Do it Again – Steely Dan
o Eleanor Rigby – Beatles
o Uprising – MuseFree Will – Rush
o Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
o Smooth – Santana
o The Last Night – Skillet
o Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
o Aerials - System of a Down
Three of the quartet have their roots in Kansas. Duell, a native of Hays, is an active private and classroom strings educator in the Beaumont, Texas, area. As director of orchestras at West Brook High School, Duell continually incorporates music of “alternative styles” into her curriculum. The West Brook Rock Orchestra performs regularly at school and community events, utilizing Duell’s own arrangements of rock music. Duell is also an instructor with the Southeast Texas Youth Symphony and organizes a summer string camp for the youth symphony program. She maintains an active private studio of eight violin and viola students, ages 12 to adult. Duell’s previous experience teaching in Hutchinson, Kan., helped her to receive the “Young String Teacher of the Year Award” from the Kansas Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) in 2009.
Mahoney is currently a senior at Hutchinson High School in Hutchinson. In 2011, as a classically trained violinist, Mahoney won the Anderson Concerto Competition and was a featured soloist with the Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra. In 2010, he was awarded a grant from Koch Industries Cultural Trust with which he attended the New York Summer Music Festival. There he studied and gained a passion for jazz styles of music. His musical interests range from Baroque, Swing, and Celtic to Balkan folk music. He is currently learning trombone and accordion. 
Born and raised in Hutchinson, Mann is a freshman at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, majoring in technical theatre. She is also in the Philharmonic Choir, the Wesleyan Chorale, and the Wesleyan Orchestra at college where she plays violin. However, her real gig has always been and will always be the viola, which she plays in the Salina Symphony and coaches in the Salina Youth Symphony. She has previously played in a number of orchestras including the Wichita Metropolitan Orchestra, the KMEA Honor Orchestras at both the District and State levels and the Hutchinson Symphony.
Greening began playing the cello more than 40 years ago in the Texas public school string program in Abilene, Texas.  Ten years ago, Greening retired from teaching business at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, to pursue her cello career full time. She obtained positions in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra as well as with the Lawton (Okla.) Philharmonic. Three years ago she moved and  now plays regularly with the Lake Charles Symphony and the Rapides Symphony Orchestras in Louisiana, the Baytown Symphony in Texas, as well as with other regional community orchestras as time permits.
The Southwest Symphony Society is a Liberal non-profit organization dedicated to promoting classical and contemporary music in the community utilizing the talents of local and professional musicians. This program is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. For more information about the concert or the Southwest Symphony Society, contact Nancy Schwartz at 626-4545.

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