A desire to see Clemson music faculty connect with other parts of the university sparked an idea for music professor Lea Kibler. Article by Thomas Hudgins, director of marketing and communications for Clemson University‘s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.
CLEMSON — When torrential summer rains fell this summer, the South Carolina Botanical Garden was one the most devastated victims. Flooding forced the garden to close for a time, and some of the damage lingers.
Enter Clemson University music professor Lea Kibler and two colleagues, who plan to help the Garden’s recovery through music.
Kibler, a flute professor in the performing arts department, will be joined by harpist Lelia Lattimore and speaker Phil Sageser in a benefit concert for one of Clemson’s most scenic destinations. The concert, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” is themed around Welsh writer Dylan Thomas’ work of the same name.
Proceeds will help with Garden flood damage. Audience members will receive a 25 percent discount in the Garden Gift Shop that afternoon (Garden Friends receive an extra 10 percent). The concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, in the Fuller Gallery at the Garden.
Kibler said the idea came about through her desire to see Clemson music faculty connect with other parts of the university. The Garden was the perfect venue for such an endeavor.
“I really liked the South Carolina Botanical Garden Visitor Center,” she said. “The upstairs Fuller Gallery is a beautiful room and I thought that it would be a good small venue for chamber music.”
A few years after Kibler and her family spent a month in Wales in 2007, she hit on the idea of producing a performance of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” with musical interludes between scenes played on flute and harp. Thomas’ piece originally was written as a one-person radio play for the Welsh BBC.
“I have always loved this work,” she said. “It is not performed as much as it should be. It is very nostalgic, gently funny, but mainly the words are just so beautiful. I knew that it was sometimes performed with music.”
Next year is the 100th anniversary of Thomas’ birth and “a ‘birthday eve’ performance seemed fitting,” she said.
The evening’s music, almost entirely British Isles-based, tie in thematically with the words and scenes of the play. Traditional carols like “The Holly and the Ivy,” “Gloucestershire Wassail” and “Deck the Halls,” mingle with songs relating to the Christmas toys, food and drink mentioned in the play. The final scene features the “Interlude” from Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” for solo harp.
Lattimore performs as a soloist and with a number of orchestras throughout western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Sageser, a seasoned public speaker who is Kibler’s husband, will read the play.
Tickets for the benefit concert are $20 and can be purchased at the door or through the Garden’s web site, www.clemson.edu/scbg. Seating is limited.