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What: Recital “Songs that my father taught me”
When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11
Where: Carthage College HF Johnson Recital Hall, 2001 Alford Park Drive
Details: Carthage music teacher Greg Berg will perform, accompanied by his niece, Aidan Spencer Sauze, and his wife, Marie Sauze, and some of Berg’s students.
KENOSHA — The upcoming performance of Professor Greg Berg of Carthage College is very personal.
On Sunday afternoons, Berg performs “Songs My Father Taught Me,” in memory of his father, Reverend David Keesey-Berg.
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Berg will be joined by his niece, Aidan Spencer Sauze, and his wife, Marie Sauze.
“I’m really thrilled to be joined by them” for this performance, Berg said. “My dad and Aidan were very close, so I knew I wanted her to be a part of this program.
“If there was anything my dad liked better than Aidan’s singing or Mary’s singing,” he added, “it was Mary and Aidan singing together. Hearing their two voices blend together is enough. to make you believe in angels.”
The program will feature several styles of music, ranging from folk to classical.
“For most of his life, my father believed he was 100% Norwegian,” Berg said. “But many years ago he did Ancestry.com and learned that he also had Irish blood in him, so there will be Norwegian and Irish songs on the program, in honor of that.
“My dad loved both Judy Collins and Pete Seeger, so they’ll be featured. And because he did a one-man show portraying John Newton, the author of ‘Amazing Grace,’ that play will end the program.”
Although Berg’s parents had little to no formal training, “they both loved music,” he said. “And I think that fueled their hopes that I could experience music and make music on a higher level.”
This “next level” led Berg, a bass-baritone, to perform on stage and conduct musicals and operas. In addition to his teaching duties in Carthage, he was minister of music for the Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Racine. He also composed four operas.
Her father “has come to many of my performances” over the years, Berg said, including the world premiere of his last one-act opera, “Women and Children: A Story of Titanic Survivors,” which made its debut. debut in November 2021 in Carthage.
“I’ll never forget that in the discussion with the audience after the performance, they called the play ‘magnificent’. My father was supportive but not inclined to lavish praise,” Berg said, “then when you received a rich compliment from him, it meant the world.”
For Sunday’s program, Berg also composed a piece, “Take Him, Earth, For Cherishing”.
The play uses quotes from an ancient poem by Prudentius (348-413 AD) and is inspired by a play written in memory of President Kennedy shortly after his assassination.
“It’s still one of the most beautiful and moving choral compositions I’ve ever heard,” Berg said. “The text came to mind at some point during the last months of my father’s life, when he said how comforted he was by the thought that his ashes would be given to the earth. It found it more comforting than the thought of heaven.
“From that moment, I knew that I wanted to put this text to music and sing it in his memory.”