Wooster’s Symphony Orchestra: Music To Our Ears

Ellen McAllister

Creative Editor

 

            The College of Wooster Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Professor Jeffery Lindberg, had its first concert of the semester on Friday, Feb. 25, followed by another performance on Saturday, Feb. 26. The orchestra is composed of students from the College as well as members of the community who would like the chance to continue to play their instruments. Together, the group performed four pieces, three of which featured senior student solos, where the orchestra accompanied the soloists as they performed in Gault Recital Hall at Scheide Music Center. 

            Soloing first on the cello was Grace Robinson ’22 with “Concerto No. 1 in A Minor for Violoncello and Orchestra, Op. 33” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns. Robinson has been playing the cello since she was five years old. While she isn’t a music major and just participates in the orchestra for fun, she reflected on her experience in the orchestra. “I feel super grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given both by the orchestra and the music department as a whole. I really love playing cello, and being in the orchestra has allowed me to continue that passion alongside my academic pursuits.” Robinson remarked that there are lots of little elements of a concert that can be nerve-wracking—wearing fancy long dresses and having to know whose hand to shake and what the correct concert etiquette is—but once the performance starts, she said that is when the fun actually begins. 

            “Élégie for Violoncello and Orchestra, Op. 24” written by Gabriel Fauré gave Zoe Dudack ’22 the chance to present her skills on the cello to the audience. Since most of the orchestra rehearsals don’t consist of the whole group, Dudack says she loves the two-week period before a performance when all the members of the orchestra come together to play, noting that it makes the pieces a lot more fun. When asked what type of music she likes to play, Dudack said that she prefers a variety and doesn’t like to stick to just one style, as she has discovered some of her favorite music that way. Dudack added that she loves playing with her co-principal, Grace Robinson, because “she makes rehearsals a great time.” 

Clare Griffith ’22 was the last of the student soloists and chose to play the first movement of “Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35” by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky on violin, with the help of the orchestra that added depth to the piece. Griffith chose this piece as part of her audition process for grad school but noted that it is important to play pieces that you enjoy playing and feel connected to. She memorized the entire piece and said that it “was a beast to memorize because Tchaikovsky kind of lays traps everywhere where it can be super easy to mess up;” however, she also loves the piece because of its complexity. Being the concertmaster of the orchestra has allowed her to form great connections with the other members, especially those in the string section.

After a brief intermission, the concert finished off with the entire orchestra, including the three soloists, playing a final piece called “Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op. 56a” written by Johannes Brahms. The piece was a combination of nine smaller variations with pauses in-between each and was a great culmination of all the sounds and pieces heard previously. 

Keep an eye out for more information about the orchestra’s next concert later this spring to see the group perform again and hear more beautiful classical music.