The Show Must Go On: University Orchestra Performs Despite Setback

The Show Must Go On: University Orchestra Performs Despite Setback

It’s not often that Colgate students choose to listen to classical music, but on Sunday, February 28, the entire campus had the opportunity to do just that when the Colgate University Orchestra performed in the Colgate Memorial Chapel. With its first piece conducted by Colgate senior Michael Petersen and the second by Professor of Music and Conductor of the Colgate University Orchestra, Marietta Cheng, the Orchestra’s menagerie of students, community members and professional musicians entertained the audience with their technique and own enjoyment of the music.

Unfortunately, the violin soloist, Hahn-Bin, could not perform due to an accident to his finger, so the Orchestra did not play “Concerto No. 3 in B Minor,” Op. 61 by Camille Saint-Saens. Despite this cut from the program, though, the remaining compositions that were played allowed the concert to still emerge as a success.

“Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla,” composed by Mikhail Glinka, the initial piece, comes from Glinka’s opera about Pushkin’s 1820 story following the Russian princess Ludmilla. When the villain Chernomor takes her hostage in the opera, Russlan must save her, and Petersen wrote in his notes that “[t]he thematic structure of the overture sets up the struggle between Russlan and Chernomor.” Petersen, who is concentrating in Music as well as Astronomy and Physics, led the orchestra well in his fourth year with the group, and the overture effectively displayed the conflict of these characters for those in attendance to experience.

Cheng then walked onto the stage for the orchestra’s performance of Jean Sibelius’s “Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43.” Cheng introduced the piece with background information on the composer Sibelius, who favored fragments and minimalism, and who was Finland’s leading composer when he wrote this symphony. The four movements of this piece seem to travel from darkness to light with no break in between the third and fourth movements. Once again, the Orchestra moved the audience and the community members, students and faculty appreciated the classical work.

Besides Cheng, Orchestra Manager Laura Campbell and President junior Lauren Okada, Librarians sophomore Sarah Gerd, Okada and junior Paige Cross, along with Stage Managers Petersen, junior Brian Bender, sophomore Mark Janett and senior Ben Bernstein all greatly contributed to the orchestra throughout the year, and assisted in the organization of the concert on Sunday.

The Colgate University Orchestra not only offers students in the organization the chance to become more educated about traditional music and its composers, but also the chance to play along with professionals and learn invaluable lessons from them firsthand. Even those who lack musical abilities can benefit from the group by attending their concerts to hear classical pieces unlikely to be found elsewhere on campus.

Although the Orchestra had to recover from the absence of Hahn-Bin, all the instruments – the violins, violas, cellos, basses, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, tubas, timpanis and percussion – were played extraordinarily. So, though Hahn-Bin was missed, nothing in the music was lacking; the program was simply shorter.

All of the members of the orchestra expressed their love for music through the concert, and reminded the audience how classical music can pull us in and evoke emotions within us as well.