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Musicians build skills in Chamber Orchestra

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Musicians build skills in Chamber Orchestra

Emma Tewes (‘20) plays the oboe in Chamber Orchestra.

Emma Tewes (‘20) plays the oboe in Chamber Orchestra.

Trang Thu Pham (‘20) | Photo Bureau

Emma Tewes (‘20) plays the oboe in Chamber Orchestra.

Trang Thu Pham (‘20) | Photo Bureau

Trang Thu Pham (‘20) | Photo Bureau

Emma Tewes (‘20) plays the oboe in Chamber Orchestra.

Linh Do, Staff Writer

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Chamber Orchestra held a concert on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 pm in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. The concert was performed by the 33 members of Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin.

Chamber Orchestra performed five songs in this concert, including the “Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri” by Gioachino Rossini, “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives, “Alleluia and Fugue” by Alan Hovhaness, “Serenade in D minor, Op. 44” by Antonín Dvořák, and “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 BWV 1049” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Each piece represented a different era of music, from Baroque to the contemporary era.

Trang Thu Pham (‘20) | Photo Bureau
Spencer Ketterling (‘22) watches Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin’s cues during the Chamber Orchestra Concert.

The concert began with the entire orchestra performing “The Overture L’Italiana” and then moved to the second piece by Ives, where there was a notable change in the stage setup. “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives was performed with a woodwind quartet, which consisted of two flutists, one clarinetist, and one oboist on the choir balcony and two trumpet players in the hallways outside of the balcony seating with the doors open. The third piece by Hovhaness utilized only the string players in the orchestra, followed by the serenade by Antonín Dvořák, which had three movements. “The Brandenburg Concerto” by Bach was the last piece in the concert, featuring Assistant Professor of Music Igor Kalnin, who played as a soloist on the violin, and Instructor in Music Kathy Reed on harpsichord. Principal flutist Rachel Schwabenbauer (‘19) also performed in this piece, collaborating with these two faculty members.

“That [piece] is my favorite,” Schwabenbauer said. “It’s super beautiful, very refreshing, [and] very cool. It’s really fun to collaborate with those professors, too.”

Concertmaster Nate Parsons (‘19) appreciates that the orchestra plays a wide range of music.

Trang Thu Pham (‘20) | Photo Bureau
Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin conducts the 33 members of Chamber Orchestra.

“Everything is very unique and stands out, and [there’s] probably not a theme for all of them,” Parsons said.

Schwabenbauer attributed the choices of repertoire to Baldwin’s teaching style.

“[Baldwin] picks music that will teach us something valuable,” Schwabenbauer said. “I think he does a really great job of thinking about the pedagogy. He just knows what that we are capable of but that will challenge us at the same time. [This] helps us become more musically literate and well-rounded in the repertoire that we learn.”

Schwabenbauer also thinks that besides the diverse music that the Chamber Orchestra is playing, the small number of musicians in the orchestra makes it beneficial.

“Since it’s such a small orchestra, you have to listen really well to each other because you are more exposed than you would be in a bigger ensemble,” Schwabenbauer said. “It makes you a better musician just because you are in such a small and exposed space.”

Principal oboist Sabrina Benedict (‘21) believes being in Chamber Orchestra teaches musicians to become more responsible within the ensemble.

“I feel like Chamber Orchestra is one of those ensembles where there are so few people in it that you have to be really independent, and it just makes you like a better musician,” Benedict said. “Since there are so few people, you have to really rely on each other, and kind of count on one another to do your part.”

Parsons views Chamber Orchestra as an opportunity for musicians to grow in their ability to work together as a unit and communicate effectively.

“There is less sound but more communication between players in the orchestra,” Parsons said. “I guess it’s [about] the communication, learning how to communicate with the musicians while you are playing a piece, watching, looking around, and seeing others. That’s something that you really get in [the] Chamber Orchestra setting.”

The unique music and talented musicians made the Chamber Orchestra concert a memorable concert, according to attendee Kien Huynh (‘22).

“I think the concert [was] pretty nice,” Huynh said. “There is a lot of finesse, a lot of beautiful movements and lines. The dynamic contrast is also really stunning.”

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