Center Stage! JU Orchestra Concert

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Photo By: Gabriele Hickman

On the evening of March 5, Terry Concert Hall was filled with patrons waiting to hear JU’s own symphony orchestra perform a variety of pieces that featured soloists being supported by the wall of sound that is created by symphonic music.
The evening began with Anthony Anurca, JSO bassoonist and JU faculty member, playing Concerto for Bassoon in E minor by Antonio Vivaldi. The first movement, allegro poco, immediately featured the facility of the bassoon with fast moving arpeggios and lines that imitated the sounds of a string section. The second movement contrasted with a slower tempo with haunting melodic lines that invoked a nostalgic remorse due to the foundation bassoon has in the older styles of music such as the Renaissance. The final section increased the pace even more than the first movement making it the perfect finish for the piece and showcase of professor Anurca’s talent.
Following was professor Kimberly Beasley, soprano, singing Bella Mia Fiamma; Resta o Cara, by W.A. Mozart. The entire work was an intimate example of the communication one can have through sheer emotional context even with the text being in another language. Beasley makes an almost effortless communication with the large ensemble behind her, as her and Dr. Marguerite Richardson, conductor, work together to blend the sounds presented before them to tell a story of grief over the loss of a loved one and the separation of death between them.
The end to the first half of the concert featured Joseph Engel, JU senior composition major, playing Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. The piece opened with a powerful and somber atmosphere that gave birth to the melancholy drama that is common to cello music. As the music gained intensity so did the power of the instrument as it built to a point of anguish and defiance that resolves to peaceful tranquility.
“It was exhilarating, inspiring and enjoyable” Engel said.
When the audience returned to their seats for the final half of the concert it was to the energetic and rhythmic sound of Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra and Piano Obbligato. The prelude featured powerful hits in the lower register with bass and piano that created extra rhythms underneath tension built by the rest of the orchestra playing strained harmonies that lead into the next movement, Dirge. The background of the rest of the orchestra transforms the strained harmonies from before into a feeling of dark complexity as folk-like melodies. Those melodies are then freed into the Pastorales and Rustic dance movements that breathed bright new life into them. The orchestra then gives a powerful final blow with the ultimate movement, Fugue, with an array of different parts intertwining creating a sea of sound that enveloped the audience as they bid them farewell.
“The orchestra took me on a bright spiritual journey,” said Corey Wilcox, jazz performance major. “I felt as though my like my mind was somewhere else. What I really enjoyed was the celebration of other’s creativity.”

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