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Siskiyou Singers and 'The Color of Music'

The Siskiyou Singers will meld art with music in a unique concert that will feature artwork projected onto a screen above the choir when it performs this weekend.

Ashland artist Ann DiSalvo also will create a pastel artwork live before the audience while the choir sings a piece by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Orban.

This fusion of the arts is the brainchild of Siskiyou Singers' Artistic Director Mark Reppert, who chose to focus on the emotional significance of red, yellow, white and blue in developing the concert.

Look for music by composers Stephen Sondheim, Carlo Gesualdo, Gyorgy Organ and local composer Ted Dollarhide, among others.

Red is associated with blood, the stuff of passion, while yellow is associated with the sun and happiness. White is related to purity and spirituality, and blue is often associated with sadness, Reppert said.

Concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. Tickets cost $15, $5 for students and Oregon Trail Card holders, and can be purchased at Music Coop or Paddington Station in Ashland, Grocery Outlet in Medford, online at www.siskiyousingers.org or by calling 541-482-5290.

The Siskiyou Singers tapped local artists DiSalvo, Bruce Bayard, Beth Martin, David Winston and Charu Colorado — as well as Helman Elementary School students — to bring the music to visual life.

DiSalvo said she's had experience creating art in front of an audience after participating in annual street chalk art festivals in Grants Pass for the past 10 years.

She plans to attend a rehearsal to hear the music that will accompany her creation of an abstract pastel artwork, but she won't listen to a recorded version.

"I want to hear it live. I don't want to get to know the music too well, but I do want to know what I'm in for," DiSalvo said, noting she will have about three minutes to complete the art piece. "It will be a really spontaneous thing."

Meanwhile, Bayard has extensive experience fusing his artwork with the work of musicians and other performers. He said he jumped at the chance to contribute art to the Siskiyou Singers concert.

"When there's something that's not too literal of an interpretation of the music, it can create an opportunity for someone listening and looking to think about music in a different way," said Bayard, who is known for his graphic art creations.

Helman Elementary School students listened to the upbeat song "The Rhythm of Life" by Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman while creating art for the concert. Their pastel-on-paper pieces range from purely abstract colorful works to images of musical notes and symbols.

Audience members also will be able to see abstract works by Colorado that fluidly mix greens, yellows and blues.

Works by Martin include an atmospheric landscape of fog-shrouded trees, while Winston's contributions include a tree cloaked in autumn leaves and the swirling brass tones of a musical instrument.

Karen Campbell, a singer with the Siskiyou Singers and the choir's publicity manager, said she is eager to see how audiences respond when they experience the integration of music and art.

"In that moment, something new has been experienced," she said.

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@mailtribune.com.

Siskiyou Singers and 'The Color of Music'