Concordia University Wisconsin's Pops Concert on Friday, October 18, "Variations On America," will feature musical tributes to legendary American music icons Charles Ives and Aretha Franklin.

Dr. Louis Menchaca will lead the string, wind, and jazz ensembles during the 7:30 p.m. concert in The Chapel of The Christ Triumphant, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon. Mrs. Johanna Anderson will conduct the University Band.

Ives is regarded as one of the first American composers of international renown, as well as the leading American composer of art music. Born in 1874, he was among the first to engage in a systematic program of experimental music. Franklin, who recorded an amazing 112 singles on Billboard, including 20 number one rhythm and blues singles, remains today the most charted female artist in history. The Pulitzer Prize jury awarded “The Queen of Soul” a posthumous citation in 2019 for “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.” The 17 time Grammy Award winner was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Kreft Center for the Arts Recital Hall houses a Yamaha C7 concert grand piano that was Franklin’s favorite instrument. The university purchased the piano in 2014 from Jim King of King’s Keyboard House in Ann Arbor, and paid tribute to the Detroit native with a March 2017 concert that included a few of her greatest hits, “Respect,” “Natural Woman” and “Amazing Grace.”

Among selections being performed during the Pops Concert will be Ives’ Variations on America, and Queen of Soul…Remembering Aretha, an Aretha Franklin medley. An arrangement of the sound track to the video game “Octopath Traveller” by sophomore Maria Mitchell will also be presented by CUW’s String Orchestra. “Arranging this is a huge, artistic accomplishment for anyone, much less a student,” Menchaca noted.

“My older brother bought me the video game last Christmas,” said Mitchell, who termed it “a hidden gem among the video game world. As soon as I heard it, I pretty much knew I had to arrange it,” she continued. The Greendale High School graduate spent almost 600 hours on the project after beginning December 29. “I had this stuck in my head and needed to get it out, and the only way I know how is by putting it onto paper.” Mitchell has become quite an accomplished musician over the years, learning to play seven instruments – the viola, piano, bass guitar, cello, violin, acoustic guitar and ukelele. Mitchell has also arranged “The Office” theme song, among others.

Adult tickets cost $8, while youths 17 and under are admitted free.

Other fall concerts include:

“Christ The King” Celebration, Sunday, November 17, 3:30 p.m., Chapel, $8 for Adults; Free for youths 17 and under.

“Christmas At Concordia,” Friday and Saturday, December 6 & 7, 7:30 p.m., Chapel, $20 for adults; Free for youths 17 and under. Advance tickets must be ordered for this concert by calling 262-243-4243.

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