Composed by Meredith Ollerich, “Dark Matter” will be performed by the MSJ Concert Band and Delhi Middle School Bands on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre.

Dark Matter production logo

An hour before the concert, at 6:30 p.m. on May 2, Dr. Molly Smallcomb will give a presentation in the Recital Hall about how sound and acoustics are affected by dark matter and the vacuum of space. At 7:30 p.m., the MSJ Concert Band will perform “Dark Matter” in the University Theatre.

Performing along with the MSJ Concert Band will be the 7th- and 8th-grade bands from Delhi Middle School. 

This concert was planned by Director of Bands Josclynn Garrison, who wanted to develop a performance with a composer that showcased the vocal talents of Lauren McAllister, a performer and Adjunct Vocal Faculty at MSJ. They connected with composer Meredith Ollerich on a Facebook forum called “Composer for Performers, Performers for Composers.” After a brief correspondence, they all agreed that the Mount would host a production of “Dark Matter.”

For Garrison, the music is uniquely captivating: “The timpani intro (which I believe represents the gravitational pull) and lingering Locrian mode caught my attention, I also personally have a fascination with space and astronomy, so it seemed like a perfect fit.”

Likewise, Ollerich also has a background in science and music. Currently a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Ollerich plans to specialize in nuclear pharmacy alongside her musical composition work.

“Meredith is someone who shows that is possible to pursue a separate career and keep music alive in her life,” says Garrison.

Garrison lives this out herself as a manager of the MSJ Concert Band. Starting the program a year ago, she wanted to create a space where students were given the opportunity to meet local or even international professional musicians. Now with a “small but mighty” 20-member band and a world premiere, she notes, doors are opening and opportunities are being taken. 

“As a Director of Bands, it is my job to show my students the possibilities that are available to them,” she asserts. “All we did was a small outreach and it created this amazing event that we get to share with our department and our community.”

For “Dark Matter,” the Mount’s Concert Band will perform selections from Holst’s “The Planets,” “Earthshine” by Jodie Blackshaw, which utilizes pre-recorded sounds, “Earth Song” by Frank Tichelli, a piece originally developed for choir with rich melodies, and “Mother Earth” by David Maslanka, featuring a more dynamic and powerful sound.

With such a cultured song list, qualified composer, talented performers, and a committed director, the performance will prove to be both groundbreaking and lasting. For the spectators, coordinators, and performers, this showing will offer an experience that is fresh, thoughtful, and full of potential.

“We are very excited to host Meredith on campus and encourage our students to see beyond their scope of MSJ to see their possibilities after growing here at MSJ,” Garrison adds encouragingly.