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‘Friday at 7’ series opens with UNM Percussion Group

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Cathedral of St. John will launch its annual “Friday at 7” series with the heartbeat of percussion on Friday, Feb. 23.

The Percussion Group of the University of New Mexico will take over the space, surrounding the audience with rhythm under the direction of associate professor of percussion Scott Ney.

“They’re going to use the entire space,” cathedral music director and organist Maxine Thévenot said, “the aisles, the chancel, the chapel.”

Instruments will include marimba and xylophone, with music by composers Steve Wright and John Adams.

The series will continue on March 2 with “Air & Hammers: The Great War in Poetry and Music,” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Helmed by Thévenot and baritone Edmund Connolly with violinist Donna Bacon, the program includes music by the English composers Ivor Gurney, Gerald Finzi and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The music will be combined with poetry written by the soldiers in the trenches. KUNM’s Spencer Beckwith is the speaker. This marks the program’s fourth year.

“We’ve done it all over the state,” Thévenot said. “This will be the last opportunity to hear it for a while.”

Connolly and Thévenot will present the music in England on July 25 at St. Martin’s Church in Bladon, outside of Oxford.

“This is the church where Winston Churchill is buried,” Thévenot said, “along with members of his family.”

One hour before each concert, Santa Fe Opera lecturer and educator Oliver Prezant will offer program lectures. Prezant is the music director of the Santa Fe Community Orchestra.