HPU to host Mannheim Steamroller founding member in concert

Jackson and Almeda BerkeyBROWNWOOD – November 11, 2013 – Guest artists Almeda and Jackson Berkey will perform with members of Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir on Tuesday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium. Jackson Berkey, a composer and pianist, was a founding member of the multiplatinum-selling group Mannheim Steamroller and spent 39 years as the group’s featured keyboardist. The concert is free and the public is welcome.

“We are fortunate and excited to have two guests the caliber of Almeda and Jackson Berkey on our campus,” said Dr. Monte Garrett, professor of music and director of choral activities. “Their years of touring with the Norman Luboff Choir and Mannheim Steamroller bring a wealth of musical talent and experience which they will share with our students. This will be a real treat for all of us.”

The concert will feature works by Jackson Berkey for solo piano, instrumental ensemble, and chorus and instruments. Both artists will perform original works.

Jackson Berkey’s published catalog includes more than 400 titles encompassing choral, solo vocal and instrumental, chamber ensemble, band and orchestral works, as well as concerti and works for chorus and orchestra. In addition to his work with Mannheim Steamroller, he has had five choir/orchestra premieres at Carnegie Hall in New York. In the classical world, his recordings for American Gramaphone and SDG Records continue to elicit rave reviews. He was named to the International Roster of Steinway Artists in 2009.

Almeda Berkey, a conductor, lyric soprano and lyricist, co-founded Nebraska’s Professional Chorale Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum in 1988 and continues to direct its artistic endeavors. She has 46 years of conducting credits including seven Cantorum recordings. After singing many American-Canadian tours with the Norman Luboff Choir, she was director of choral activities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for four years. Playing keyboard with Mannheim Steamroller in concert since 1973 has taken her across America, Canada and Europe.

“We hope everyone takes advantage of hearing our students perform with these distinguished guests,” said Dr. Garrett. “The concert is free and everyone is welcome to attend.”

Funding for this event was provided by the Arts Council of Brownwood. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

###

Photo cutline: Jackson and Almeda Berkey will perform with members of HPU’s Concert Choir on Tuesday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s Mims Auditorium.