Summery Sentiments Fill University Symphony Orchestra Showcase

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Visions and feelings of summer came alive in the University Symphony Or­chestra’s Concerto Com­petition Winner Showcase Concert last week on cam­pus. With over 40 musi­cians hailing from North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead and the commu­nity, this concert came with a certain amount of excel­lence and talent that worked perfectly to serve up its mu­sical offerings.

Headed by orches­tra director Dr. Christina Chen-Beyers, the Univer­sity Symphony Orchestra featured three soloists in its first half. Zhanna Ricks, a Belarusian music teacher and NDSU School of Music graduate student, opened up the concert with a light­hearted aria that fluttered, giggled and resonated with a rich bottomlessness about her lover.

She was followed by NDSU music education major Erika Berger, who performed Mozart’s “Horn Concerto in E-flat Major” on her French horn. This piece had all the hallmarks of a seaside jaunt, riding horses down along the beach in the surf in a stately way. Clarinetist and NDSU mu­sic education major Zachery Pavlicek succeeded Berger with his clarinet concerto.

With the orchestra warm­ing the song up for several minutes before he burst in with his fluttery clarinet, Pavlicek’s piece was sweet and lush and reminiscent of a cloud journeying across varying landscapes, from high sierras to rocky shore­lines to still deserts.

An intermission marked the break between the so­loists and the orchestra’s main arrangement — three movements from Antonín Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major.” Written at his summer home, this piece exuded the sentiments of the season, with Chen-Bey­ers remarking, “I would like for you to imagine whatever you do in summer,” adding, “It’s coming!”

She then dived into conducting the 45-piece orchestra through the three movements with much gusto and clear enjoyment. “Allegro con brio” brought out the weather of summer, with wind, sun and mist all springing to life from the strings and winds. Flow­ers opened, birds chirped, storms raged, but the sun al­ways came out in the breaks between bad weather.

“Allegretto grazioso” followed as the second movement, and this piece began by creating visions of mosquito eggs hatching before breaking into a run through the forest. Adven­tures in woodland waters highlighted this movement, and before it was all over, the bold strings and winds had frolicked on many hill­sides and paddled around many a pond.

The concerto came to an end with “Allegro ma non troppo.” The warm and inviting pleasures of a party romped and raved in this piece, with much twirl­ing and dancing. A mellow mood preceded a mortar shell of dance, capping off an active movement that was clearly sheer enjoyment for all involved.

For a little over an hour, the University Symphony Orchestra kept its audi­ence’s minds on the season and weather we can look forward to. As a pleasant di­version for one night in win­ter, this showcase concert served a fine purpose.

The University Sympho­ny Orchestra Concerto/Aria Concert was on Mar. 6 in Festival Concert Hall.

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