Weidner Philharmonic Opens Season with Shake-up of Traditional Symphony
by Mallory Allen, FOX 11 News
September 28, 2023 – Original Article
GREEN BAY (WLUK) — If you think classical music isn’t for you, the opening concert of the 2023-24 Weidner Philharmonic (“Wei Phi”) season on Saturday may change your mind.
Re-writing the rules of classical music and the traditional concert experience is the performance’s mission, shaking up everything from programming to concert attire.
The concert — titled Titled “Dance Dance Evolution” — will feature selections ranging from Latin American dance music and a Motown mash-up to disco styles and a deconstructed waltz.
Another unique addition to the program will be the rock drum set on stage — something rarely seen in classical symphonies — which will enhance robust percussion sections in the music.
Celebrating the movement and entertainment intrinsic to all forms of music, Wei Phi’s energetic program is designed to get audience members moving and having fun.
“This concert celebrates the passion and energy of music inspired by dance genres and there’s no better way to experience this than through live performance. There’s a kind of electricity in the air when audiences and performers come together,” said Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, the artistic director of the Weidner Philharmonic and a professor of music at UW-Green Bay.
In a further break from tradition, the concert will be conducted by UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander, who previously directed the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and has served as the director of music programs at multiple universities.
“Conductors make no sound. They just try to draw the best out of all of the amazing people that make sound in the orchestra and inspire collaboration and listening to create a unified vision for a piece of music,” Alexander said. “In my opinion, a chancellor tries to do the same thing with faculty and staff here at UW-Green Bay.”
After the concert, Water Street Dance Milwaukee will perform in The Weidner’s Grand Foyer. With a repertoire embodying hip hop, contemporary and classical, dancers will showcase the live evolution of music and dance.