Memorial Concert to Honor Richard Willis Oct. 19

Oct. 15, 1997

by Richard Veit

A memorial concert will be presented at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, in honor of the late Dr. Richard Willis, who died at age 68 on July 25. The program will be held in Roxy Grove Hall on the Baylor University campus.

Willis, emeritus professor of music composition and Composer-in-Residence, served on the Baylor University faculty for 32 years until his retirement in May of 1996. He was the recipient of many awards, including the Prix de Rome, the Howard Hanson Prize and the Ostwald Composition Award.

Sunday's concert will feature the Baylor Chamber Singers, who will perform two of Willis's choral pieces, "Hear My Prayer" and "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord." This 18-member vocal ensemble is conducted by Donald Bailey, the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. Michael Stuart is the group's accompanist.

Other pieces by Willis that will be heard are his Sonatina for Violin and Piano, his Tetralogue for saxophone quartet, and his Pantomime for flute, violin, viola and cello.

The Sonatina will be played by violinist Barbara Barber of Texas Christian University and pianist Jill T. Sprenger of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Tetralogue will be performed by Michael N. Jacobson, associate professor of saxophone, and three of his students, Eli González, Michelle Acton and Jason Warren.

A recording of Pantomime's first performance at the National Flute Association's 1997 convention in Chicago will be played. This will be introduced by Dr. Marvin Lamb, dean of the School of Music.

In addition to the music, Dr. William F. Cooper will present his own personal remembrances of Willis. Cooper is professor of philosophy at Baylor and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

This memorial concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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