Crowds gathered dressed to impress in University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music Friday night to eat and be awed by a showcase of the college’s finest music and production programs during the annual Moveable Feast.
The event served as a fundraiser hosted by Friends of CCM, a group of volunteers that works to raise money that helps CCM students. The Feast featured 15 20-minute segments of arts and musical performances across eight venues, and proceeds raised will support scholarships for CCM students.
The evening kicked off at 7:30 p.m. with a jazz and musical theatre prelude in Corbett Auditorium.
Guests soon poured into the aisles to watch the jazz ensemble fill the crowd with energy and excitement as musical theater dancers pirouetted across the stage.
Shortly after, the evening split up into seven customized tracks guests could follow: Classical, which sampled the best of CCM’s classical music; Newbie, which gave those new to the Feast a taste of audience favorites; Theater, which spotlighted CCM’s fabulous stage productions; Party People, inspired by high-energy and interactive arts; Best Kept Secret, which uncovered some of CCM’s hidden treasures; Parent’s Sampler, or an inside look at the college’s programs and facilities; and Create Your Own, which allowed guests to create their own adventure. This was the first year the Feast included these tracks.
CCM alum William Menefield played piano in the VIP room and talked about how the fundraiser is great because it mixes everything people enjoy.
“Think about it: you have all this different stuff going on all around CCM,” Menefield said. “You go to one room and you eat. You go to another room and eat some more. Here’s also why it’s cool: It helps out the school.”
Within the theater track, the Patricia Corbett Theatre opened its doors to feature selections from “Simpatico” by Dmitri Shostakovich and “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland, performed by CCM’s ballet dancers.
To reflect the piece’s original intent to illustrate the human battle of self-unity, the “Simpatico” dancers displayed a serene duet as they glided across the stage, incorporating fluid lifts and an air of conflict before the end of the piece.
“Appalachian Spring” soon followed with a lighter tone as flowing blue, purple and red skirts swirled in colorful flights. The piece vividly portrayed the love story of a husband and wife in a town of American pioneers in the 19th century with its own variation to Aaron Copland’s original composition.
While the story typically focuses on the love of the two characters and highlights life events including their marriage, daily life and newborn child, CCM choreographer Andre Megerdichian incorporated his own twist of a love triangle that adds depth and complexity to the ballet.
Following the sample pieces, audience members poured out of the theater in search of their next performance.
“People can move around and just see every single part of CCM and get every single part of the arts that we have here,” said David Goist, a third-year violin performance student.
Goist said his favorite part of Moveable Feast was the orchestra.
“It has the most art that was put in to it,” he said.
Halfway into the night, the CCM Steel Drum Band performed the ingenuity of CCM alum Eugene Novotney’s composition “Everything’s Alright.”
The stage was packed with over 20 steel drums and 17 performers rotated across each instrument, while each note pinged and echoed throughout the stage and invoked a delightful tropical ambience.
All tracks left guests and performers in high spirits with the conclusion and spectacular production of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5” performed by CCM’s Philharmonia Orchestra.
“If I can do something for the school from time to time, it’s always a double bonus,” Menefield said. “The school needs help, the students need help, so it’s kind of like a triple bonus: play, eat, help.”