Musical tribute remembers BGSU alumni

The College of Musical Arts will present a concert Sunday (Aug. 27) in memory of 2002 graduates Chris Carducci and Robert Samels, who perished in an Indiana plane crash April 20.

The program, “In Memory of … A Musical Celebration of Chris Carducci and Robert Samels,” will be presented at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. The performance will feature vocal works (solo, ensemble, choral and opera) that were performed by both, as well as many that were written by Samels, a talented composer as well as singer.

Fellow BGSU alumni and friends of the two former students will participate in the concert, and several pieces will be led by conductors they worked with at BGSU, including Dr. William Skoog, director of choral activities; Dr. Mark Munson, music education, and Kevin Bylsma, a voice and opera coach. Bylsma is serving as artistic director of the event.

The program will include music by Mozart, Vaughan Williams and Réne Clausen, in addition to the works by Samels. Also featured will be an anthem Samels wrote for St. Aloysius Church in Bowling Green, which will be performed by the church choir.

Among those involved in the project is BGSU graduate Annie Corrigan, a close friend of both men. Corrigan said, “We look forward to paying tribute to Robert and Chris through music. They both dedicated their lives to art, so it is wholly appropriate that we honor their memory through performance. Sharing this musical celebration with friends, family, schoolmates and community members will make this a true affirmation of life and music.”

Carducci, who was from Monroe, Mich., graduated from BGSU in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in music education. A student of Virginia Starr and Andreas Poulimenos, he was active in the opera program, appearing in numerous roles. He won the undergraduate division of the third annual Dr. Marjorie Conrad Peatee Art Song Competition and was a member of the Collegiate Chorale and University Men's Chorus.

He continued his studies at Indiana University, where he studied with Timothy Noble in the master's program. Carducci had recently appeared at Carnegie Hall, where he sang for the Marilyn Horne Foundation's “The Song Continues … 2005.” Last year, he created the title role of Pontius Pilate in “Pilatus,” a new opera by Samels. He had worked with the Toledo Opera as a resident artist, the Carmel Bach Festival and Michigan Opera Works. Carducci was scheduled to be an apprentice with the Central City (Colo.) Opera this summer and perform the title role in Mozart's “Don Giovanni” at Indiana University this year.

Samels, a native of Medina, entered BGSU as a freshman in 2000 with more than 60 hours of college credit. He completed three degrees in two years, majoring in composition, music history and voice. He appeared in many opera productions, performing as Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Don Alfonso in “Così fan tutte” and Judge Turpin in the BGSU Theatre production of “Sweeney Todd.” He was also a member of the New Music Ensemble and the Collegiate Chorale.

After graduating from BGSU, Samels enrolled in the graduate vocal performance program at Indiana University. He was a doctoral student there in choral conducting at the time of his death.

As a composer, Samels wrote more than 35 works. His piece “Juggernaut” was featured at the 23rd annual BGSU New Music & Art Festival, as the composition division winner of the 2001-02 Competitions in Music Performance. As a conductor, he led instrumental and choral ensembles in a wide variety of repertoire, including many of his own compositions. In September 2005, he conducted the premiere of his opera “Pilatus.”

Samels had recently appeared as Mr. Gibbs in the world premiere of “Our Town” by Ned Rorem and had major roles in the collegiate premieres of William Bolcom's “A View from the Bridge,” as well as “El Nino” by John Adams. He frequently performed oratorio repertoire as well. An announcer, as well as host and producer of “Cantabile” with public radio station WFIU, he was an associate instructor in Indiana University's music theory department.

Samels would have performed three roles this summer at the Wolf Trap Opera Company, including Bartolo in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Friar Laurence in “Roméo et Juliette” and Pluto in Telemann's “Orpheus.”

Those interested in participating in the performance should contact Deborah Fleitz at See more details at:

August 21, 2006