Chamber Orchestra Performs Winter Concert


McKinley Leinweber

The Luther College Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin, performed for a virtual audience on Sunday, January 24th.

On Sunday, January 24, the Luther College Chamber Orchestra performed their last virtual concert of the semester in the Center for Faith and Life main hall. The orchestra, directed by Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin, featured 26 orchestra students performing a number of pieces from varied composers, including Amadeus Mozart, Ramiro Cortès and Mark O’Connor.

Connecting through music is ultimately what brings the 26-member group together. In their performance of “Appalachian Waltz” by Mark O’Connor, the 15-person string section began the program with a more reflective piece.

“It’s more of a folk inspired piece, very simple, more focused on tone and intonation and other techniques,” Liu said. “I really enjoyed that, and it was a great listening exercise. It’s simple, understated, very beautiful, and enjoyable.”

The program ended with the chamber orchestra performing Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 in D Major (“Prague”). With the addition of the horns, winds and percussion sections, the now 26 person ensemble performed in full force. Composed of three movements, Mozart’s 38th Symphony ended the short performance with all chamber orchestra members playing together, making music for the Luther community to enjoy.

Recently, orchestra rehearsals have looked a little different than usual, with rehearsal time cut down to 30 minutes and the requirement of six feet social distancing between each member. When asked about the COVID-19 adjustments, Baldwin admitted that things in the orchestra have changed.

“The word ‘ensemble’ is a French word meaning together,” Baldwin said. “This virus has changed the way we practice together. The members of the orchestra place a very, very high value on the ensemble and their participation in it.”

Members of the orchestra have noted a looser connection with newer musicians as a result of the pandemic. Shana Liu (‘21) is the principal violist of the chamber orchestra, and explained that the pandemic has made her connections to friends stronger, but has hindered the ability to connect to newer members.

“Since I’m a senior, I already have a lot of people I know and a lot of friends,” Liu said. “I feel like being back in person has made me get a lot closer to them since I can see them a lot regularly. But I have noticed that in terms of feeling like a community it’s more difficult. We can’t gather for socials and stuff like that. I definitely feel for the underclassmen who can’t have situations where they can meet other people.”

Erin Villmow (‘22), who is the principal horn, also noted a lack of bonding between orchestra members outside of rehearsals because of the pandemic. She explained how her section remained connected before the pandemic and lost the ability to continue the tradition.

“There used to be dinners that everyone in the horn section was invited to,” Villmow said, “but they can’t really happen right now.”

Because of the COVID-19 precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing, connecting with and recognizing new members have been difficult. But despite the strain current circumstances put on rehearsal time, Baldwin explains that all members, in general, have been showing up to the rehearsals more so than they have pre-pandemic.

“In more than twenty years of teaching I’ve never had fewer problems with absenteeism than I’ve had this fall,” Baldwin said. “[It is] harder to connect––I can hardly bring myself to say it, but I don’t know the faces of my first-year students.”

Though masks and social distancing have kept the faces of performers hidden, the music students make together can be enjoyed by the public thanks to live streaming. To view previous concerts, or stream them live, visit: