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‘MTSU On the Record’ features new student opera ‘The Tender Land’

The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program will shine the spotlight on MTSU students preparing to give voice to the American experience.

H. Stephen Smith

H. Stephen Smith

Host Gina Logue’s interview with H. Stephen Smith, a voice professor in the MTSU School of Music, will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, March 6, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Smith is in charge of MTSU’s production of “The Tender Land,” the second opera from legendary American composer Aaron Copland, whose majestic “Fanfare for the Common Man” and uplifting “Appalachian Spring” have thrilled millions of listeners.

Presentations are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20, in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building. A map of available parking is at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Hale County, Alabama, sharecropper Frank Tengle, right, and his family sing hymns in their Sunday best in this 1935 photo, "Sunday Singing," by Walker Evans that was included in James Agee's book "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." Composer Aaron Copland was inspired to write his opera "The Tender Land," which will be presented March 18 and 20 at MTSU, after reading Agee's book and seeing Evans' photos. (Photo by Walker Evans/Library of Congress)

Hale County, Alabama, sharecropper Frank Tengle, right, and his family sing hymns in their Sunday best in this 1935 photo, “Sunday Singing,” by Walker Evans that was included in James Agee’s book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” Composer Aaron Copland was inspired to write his opera “The Tender Land,” which will be presented March 18 and 20 at MTSU, after reading Agee’s book and seeing Evans’ photos. (Photo by Walker Evans/Library of Congress)

“The Tender Land” is the story of a Midwestern farm girl who yearns to leave her impoverished family upon graduating from high school during the Great Depression. The narrative changes, however, when two suspicious strangers come to work on the farm.

“I think the one thing that drew me to this opera was the fact that a lot of what my mother taught me when I was growing up … there’s a lot of that reflected in the opera itself, and I felt a sort of personal connection to that,” Smith said.

Students make up the cast, crew and chamber orchestra of the production. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for MTSU faculty, students and staff.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

https://youtu.be/ET3oWco3Daw