Orchestra combines with JCCC for performance

Story by Steven Stenebach, Writer

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Baker’s full orchestra, consisting of both wind and string instruments, performed a spring concert on Sunday alongside musicians from Johnson County Community College. The JCCC musicians were added to the ensemble to fill in missing parts for the Baker orchestra.

“We just don’t have the players here,” Director of Orchestral Activities Mark Pretzel said. “If we didn’t have these instruments available to us, we couldn’t have an orchestra concert.”

Pretzel views the guest musicians as a benefit to the group, allowing him to choose more challenging and authentic music.

“I don’t see it as a bad thing that we are combining with these players,” Pretzel said. “Without them we could only be playing watered down versions of the music.”

The orchestra only had one practice with all the musicians together; the rest of the rehearsals were only sections of the band playing together.

“Whenever you are doing rehearsals that are so fragmented, it makes the rehearsal process much more difficult,” Pretzel said. “It was stressful because I didn’t know what to expect when all the sections finally played together.”

Freshmen Hannah Remick is a violinist in the orchestra.

“Playing with the other musicians creates a kind of fullness I usually don’t get to hear,” Remick said. “Once everbody gets used to playing with each other, it really comes together.”

The orchestra performed Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4.

“I was not a fan of the length of the piece,” Remick said. “The piece is 40 minutes long. It can physically hurt your body, (but) I am glad we are not just doing another Bach or Mozart piece.”

Freshmen Grant Ellis plays trumpet in the ensemble and was happy with the pieces chosen for the concert.

“The piece is absolutely beautiful,” Ellis said. “I love the second movement, but I had a tacet, so I didn’t get to play during it.”

Ellis had only practiced with the ensemble twice before the actual concert, but thought that it was an impressive performance all around.

“It felt like the strings were much more prepared then the winds were,” Ellis said. “The performance had its flaws, but overall I think it went very well.”