EMU Symphony Orchestra, consisting of 48 musicians under the direction of conductor Dr. Chad Hutchinson, performed in Pease Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 8.
This concert was the very first sensory friendly event at EMU. The aim was to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all to enjoy the music. At the beginning of the show, an announcement from Professor Laura Pawuk explained that multiple departments, including the School of Music and Dance, were thrilled to provide this experience with the audience.
“You are more than welcome to make sounds and move around the auditorium. If you have a question or need assistance during the performance, just look to our volunteers here on the side. If you would like to take a break during the concert, there are two places to go. One is behind these seats and we also have another with a bean bag chair and blankets. We also have another ‘take a break’ place behind the stage volunteers can assist. We will be showing a red light to warn the audience when loud sounds are approaching,“ said Pawuk.
The lights flickered and the audience settled, leading to the show’s kick off, with the playing of Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to ‘Candide.’”
The concert highlighted this year’s soloist, Lucas Tittle. Tittle was honored as one of two finalists of the Concerto and Aria Competition at EMU, and currently studies violin with Professor Daniel Foster. Tittle made his way to the front of the stage to perform his solo of Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1,” showcasing his talent and receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
Tittle’s performance was followed by all four movements of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2.” Conductor Hutchinson then took the front of the stage to explain how the movements of the piece would flow.
New to EMU fall of 2019, conductor Hutchinson described his teaching methods. He strives to provide all his musicians with background on the composers and the musical pieces for a deeper understanding of the songs.
“I really try to teach the history of the piece, so we’re not just always working on the notes. I try to talk more about what is behind the music because there are a lot students in our orchestra, who are music majors and music education majors.”
Rachel Perrydore, a viola player, shared her experience being part of the EMU Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s really cool to see our growth as an ensemble, as a team and as just a group of friends, as the semester progresses. It’s a lot of fun to get to play with each other and to learn more about the composers and the music,“ said Perrydore. "Classical music and orchestra are cool. It’s not something that is outdated, it’s relevant now and anyone can be a part of it.”
Reenforcing Perrydore's statement, Hutchinson explained why music is so important to today's society.
“Classical music is timeless. Especially in today’s age with so much anger in the world, people can come out for an hour and a half and experience something that can maybe bring them joy in some way,“ Perrydore added. "Great music lasts forever.”
Jacob Rushlow, a trumpet player, hopes people leave the concert feeling inspired.
“The orchestra is open to anyone, not just majors, so anyone interested can try out and should,” stated Rushlow.