When Worlds Collide in Music

Amanda McKeon

As you strolled through the quad on Sunday afternoon, you probably found yourself engulfed in symphonious sounds that were emanating from the Chapel. Responsible for this melodic musical barrage was the Colgate University Orchestra.

The orchestra, which is made up of Colgate students, faculty, and professional musicians, played to a sizeable crowd of Colgate students and faculty, as well as local residents of the Hamilton community. The “From the New World” concert is one of four concerts that the orchestra plays each year.

Marietta Cheng, a Colgate professor of music, conducted the concert. She described the concert and the orchestra’s concert series as an overall success.

“[The orchestra] is very well supported by both the university and the community,” Cheng stated.

“I noticed a definite increase in student interest, presence, and reaction to [the concerts],” Violinist senior Charles Feierabend also commented on the performance’s attendance.

Additionally, Professor Cheng added her perspective on the value of the concert for the whole community.

“The concert is an excellent example of welcome integration and wonderful relationships between the town and the university,” Cheng stated.

Orchestra member senior Susan Teubner-Rhodes expanded on Professor Cheng’s point as she shared her view of the concert’s valuable contribution to the broader community: “Colgate University Orchestra concerts give the Colgate community an opportunity to broaden their horizons and listen to music to which they might not otherwise be exposed.”

Viola player and junior Mike Banker also felt that the Colgate community benefited from the concert.

“When people attend our concerts, they are of course hearing the work of students who have done a lot to prepare for that particular performance. They [concert-goers] also have the opportunity to hear a number of tremendous professional players who play with us,” Banker explained.

The concert included Von Suppe’s Pique Dame Overture, Franck’s Symphonic Variations and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor. The pieces are chosen based on recommendations by a student orchestra music committee and performing Dvorak’s New World Symphony was a priority for the committee.

Banker expressed his enthusiasm over the music, stating, “Dvorak was of course the highlight [of the concert]. The Von Suppe was also fun.”

Feierabend felt that the choice of pieces was apt and made for lively performance.

“Nothing went on too long and the styles of the pieces contrasted well with each other,” Feierabend explained.

Aside from the efforts put into the preparation for the concert, violist Banker stressed the importance of the effort put into the concert that day. Banker specifically noted the value of orchestra members being passionate during performances.

“Throughout the Dvorak, I could sense a lot of energy through all of the players that made it sound much more impressive,” Banker stated.

Judging by the reactions of the audience and the flawless performance, the effort of all those involved in contributing to the concert was well worth it. Concert attendees were clearly impressed by the professionalism shown by the orchestra and the cohesiveness of the program and performance.

The concert afforded the community an opportunity to enjoy excellent and compelling classical music. Clarinet player Teuner-Rhodes aptly summed up the benefit of the concert. She exclaimed that it provided the campus with, “a unique opportunity because music is at its best when live.” Flutist and senior Laura McCoy added to this sentiment: “there’s still something special about being able to watch the musicians as you hear the music- the influence of the art is more immediate than listening to an iPod.” Certainly those who enjoyed the powerfully harmonious sounds of the orchestra would agree.