All good things must come to an end, so they say, and so the 17-year association between accompanist Elizabeth Bunch and the New Mexico Highlands University Choirs directed by Andre Garcia-Nuthmann end on Sunday. Elizabeth and her husband, pediatrician Dr. George Bunch, are moving to California to be near children and grandchildren.
As the accompanist for the NMHU Madrigal Choir, Elizabeth determined early this semester that her farewell would be a concert to benefit that choir’s efforts to return to the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. And so it iseeElizabeth’s Farewell Bash is at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in Kennedy Lounge on the NMHU Campus.
Featured in the program are a number of NMHU vocal students, as well as soprano, Christel Garcia; tenor, Andre Garcia-Nuthmann; and the Madrigal and the Jazz Choirs under Garcia-Nuthmann’s direction. There are selections from Schubert and Mozart to Ellington and Peterson.
When asked about his work with Elizabeth, Andre replied, “Elizabeth has been my right hand for 17 years. It is rare to find a musical partner that can read your mind. I have been extremely fortunate that way. We seem to have the same goals musically and aesthetically. One of the things I love best about Elizabeth is her spirit of adventure and willingness to do what ever it takes to create an excellent concert.”
Elizabeth has accompanied the New Mexico University Concert Choir, the Madrigal Choir and the Jazz Choir throughout her time at Highlands. Some semesters she accompanied one or two of the choirs, some semesters all three. She has been a tireless music educator, teaching private piano for many years, and teaching piano and accompanying for students at Highlands.
Elizabeth has played organ and piano at First United Presbyterian Church for about 30 years, where she created and directed the youth bell choir. She has often played at receptions, luncheons, dinners and special events in the community, as well as many weddings, funerals and special church services.
Elizabeth is a dedicated and serious musician, but has a great sense of humor about her music. Garcia-Nuthmann relates a story about a Jazz Choir concert where Elizabeth had somehow not gotten the word that a “hideous rendition of a boogie Christmas song” had been dropped from the program. “Well, I lift my hands to conduct ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and Elizabeth starts the boogie. I whisper that we’re doing ‘Have Yourself’ee she replies “Oh” and we continue. Next is ‘Winter Wonderland’ and I lift my arms to start and Elizabeth once again begins the boogie. I say, “Elizabeth, we’re doing ‘Winter Wonderland’ and she replies, “Oh” and then says, “When are we going to do that boogie song?” I say, we’re not, whereupon she bursts out with glee, “thank goodness” and proceeds to rip it out of her notebook.
So, come join in the fun of Elizabeth’s Farewell Bash. Tickets are $10 and are available at Tome on the Range, Europa Hair Studio, from choir members, and at the door.
Desserts will be served following the concert.