Orchestra, Choir Perform Memorial Day Weekend in New York City

The students will perform during a vespers service at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on Sunday and a Memorial Day concert in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.


More than 100 Texas Tech University School of Music students will visit and perform in New York City this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day.

Fifty-four members of the University Choir and 53 musicians with the University Chamber Orchestra will deliver two performances conducted by Richard Bjella, Texas Tech director of choral studies. The University Choir will be the featured ensemble during a vespers service at 5 p.m. EDT Sunday (May 28) at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 619 Lexington Ave. On Memorial Day (May 29), the choir and orchestra will perform Johannes Brahms’ “A German Requiem” at 8 p.m. EDT in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, 1941 Broadway.


The piece is a large-scale work for chorus, orchestra and soprano and baritone soloists composed by Brahms between 1865 and 1868. The work diverges from the expression of sorrow usually found in a requiem, focusing instead on themes of comfort and solace. Bjella said its completion in May 1868 is significant because that also was when the holiday now known as Memorial Day was established as a commemoration of those killed in the Civil War.

Richard Bjella

Richard Bjella

“It’s perhaps the greatest choral-orchestral work of the 19th century,” Bjella said. “It’s certainly considered by most to be the standard for an entire century of music, and we’re bringing this to life on Memorial Day in New York City.”

David Becker, director of orchestral studies, will accompany the orchestra. He said this performance also is noteworthy because both Texas Tech ensembles will perform together at Alice Tully Hall.

“There is a bit of tradition, as I understand, to invite outstanding choirs like the Texas Tech University Choir, then hire musicians from New York for the orchestra,” Becker said. “We’re incredibly pleased that they agreed to allow the University Chamber Orchestra to play this performance. It is a tremendous honor for us and for university, so we’re very excited.”

David Becker

David Becker

Gerald Dolter, professor of voice and director of Texas Tech Opera Theatre, and Rebecca Wascoe Hayes, assistant professor of voice, will perform as soloists.

The trip will give many of the students an opportunity to visit New York for the first time while also allowing the group to represent the university in a hall where other musical greats have performed, Bjella said.

Rebecca Wascoe Hayes

Rebecca Wascoe Hayes

“Following in those footsteps, seeing those memories, feeling that intensity of excellence brought to that stage is something we cherish and honor and do not take lightly in terms of our responsibilities to represent Texas Tech in the finest light,” Bjella said.

Tickets to the Memorial Day concert may be purchased online or from the Alice Tully Hall box office by calling (212) 721-6500.

Texas Tech alumni who attend the concert also are invited to a tour of the Whitney Museum of American Art at 10 a.m. Saturday (May 27) and a Memorial Day pre-concert reception at 5:30 p.m. sponsored by Diamond Schmitt Architects. Those interested in attending the tour or reception must RSVP by calling (806) 834-6294.

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School of Music

The School of Music

The School of Music is part of the J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.

With more than 500 students, the size is ideal for creating larger ensembles as well as ensuring individual attention with private study.

Faculty includes a performing specialist on all band and orchestral instruments as well as piano, voice, organ, harp and guitar, and specialists in conducting, composition, electronic music, music education, musicology, world music and music theory.


J.T. & Margaret Talkington
College of Visual & Performing Arts


The J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts at Texas Tech offers a diverse array of programs and courses in art, music, theatre and dance.

The college seeks to prepare students who will be leaders in the profession by employing the highest standards in performance, teaching, research, and artistic and creative vision.

The college includes the:

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