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Werth and friends kick off FHSU's International Education Week

Practically everyone in Hays knows Kay Werth is a whiz on woodwinds. Her concert Sunday evening revealed she knows how to put together a fascinating musical evening.

Realizing Fort Hays State University's International Education Week was set for this week, she assembled a concert titled "An International Musical Sampling." With the aid of Carol Solko-Olliff, director of international student services, she recruited colleagues from FHSU, guest musicians and international students. Flags of many nations lent a colorful background to the events.

Josephine Squires, originally from Britain, now a member of the political science faculty, introduced the first selection, British composer William Corbett's "Sonata No. 12 in C," for trumpet (Brad Dawson), oboe (Werth) and continuo (Judith Ofcarcik, organ, and Stacy Nickel-Miller, cello). The ensemble gave a sprightly performance of the sonata, a jolly piece from the Baroque era.

Saki Oshio, international student from Japan, introduced a composition by Ken Hakoda, conductor of the Salina Symphony. "Essay on a Japanese Tune for English Horn (Werth), Clarinet (Kristin Pisano), Cello (Ben Cline), and Percussion (Kevin Pham)," is a successful fusion of Japanese and Western elements, a pleasing melody with fascinating rhythms.

Johnny Hill, an American student who has studied in Italy, introduced a blockbuster finale to the first part of the concert, Antonio Pasculli's "Concerto sopra motivi dell' opera 'La Favorita'" (concerto based on motifs from Donizetti's opera "La Favorita"). This featured Werth, on oboe, accompanied by Tom Meagher on piano. This is a showpiece for oboe -- the whole composition is literally one long cadenza. Werth played brilliantly, while Meagher took over skillfully in the pauses.

Student Christophe Cheroret from France introduced Jacques Ibert's "Deux Interludes for Flute (Hilary Shepard), Oboe (Werth) and Harp (Jane Hyde)."

The voices of the instruments blended perfectly to create a delicate, lacy effect in the first interlude followed by a melody with a Latin flavor in the second.

Argentine student Luis Pauyac introduced an eloquent rendition of Astor Piazzolla's haunting "Oblivion," arranged by FHSU graduate Steven Cornwell for oboe d'amour (Werth), cello (Miller), bass (Cline) and harp (Hyde).

Sussana Lewandowska, from Germany, introduced "Riffs for Flute (Shepard), Bassoon (Werth), and Piano (Meagher)" by American Michael Burns, a jazzy, laid-back waltz and shuffle.

However, the audience wouldn't let the music end until Werth, Miller and Hyde played an encore, Eric Stein's "Ashokan Farewell," based on the old cowboy song "Git along little Dogies."

Don't miss the FHSU Bands concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Beach/Schmidt.

Ruth Firestone is a supporter of the arts and a frequent contributor to The Hays Daily News.