Orchestra prepares for upcoming performance

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Student and staff string instrumentalists are tuning their skills in preparations for the upcoming Baker University Orchestra concert. The free evening of music will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in Rice Auditorium, and will feature performances of the Orchestra members and instructor Lisa Jackson.

This concert will include pieces by Handel, Beethoven and Shubert. Director of Orchestral Activities Mark Pretzel is optimistic about crowd reactions.

The evening’s Handel piece is a selection from Act 3 of Solomon. As a popular piece, Pretzel believes many audience members will recognize the work, calling it “lively and exciting.”

“It’s a great example of showing how phrasing matches the rise and fall of the line,” Pretzel said. “It’s a very typical baroque style.”

As well as having students from Baker perform, the night will also host performers from Johnson County Community College. Pretzel feels the reliance on JCCC students stems from the dwindling number of Orchestra students on Baker’s campus. According to Pretzel, in order to create a well-rounded sound, the extra players are a necessity.

In addition to Handel, the evening’s Beethoven piece will feature a Baker instructor.

“The F major romance is a pleasant theme for violin with a very classically orchestrated accompaniment,” Pretzel said. “The solo violinist is Lisa Jackson, who teaches violin here and is a member of KC Symphony.”

Pretzel finds that the Shubert is much like the Beethoven even though Shubert’s time is much later, though it does not have the romanticized woodwind and brass sections most of Shubert’s work typically does. The number is scored for one flute, two oboes, two french horns and strings.

Junior Amanda Conrade is a violist for the Orchestra and is excited for Jackson’s performance.

“I think this performance will be great,” Conrade said. “I think students are really excited and I feel we’re prepared for it, so I’m ready.”

Though working the music was a challenge, Conrade believes that the hardest part of putting together a concert is getting all of the pieces to fit together.

“The biggest thing is always bringing in the other instruments, the woodwinds and the brass. We have to match intonation and make sure everyone’s counting,” Conrade said. “The intonation can be a struggle, so we always want the extra time to work with them.”

Conrade feels participating in Orchestra has pushed her to better understand what it means to be committed.

“It’s not super hard, but you have to take time outside of class, so dedication is a big part,” Conrade said. “You really have to like it.”

To students who do not normally attend an Orchestra concert, Pretzel would argue that this particular concert has especially “good tunes.” He thinks that the variety in musical selections will allow students with varying opinions on music to still enjoy the show.

“I think we’ve chosen pieces that will be very enthusiastically received,” Pretzel said.

For those who cannot attend Tuesday’s performance, the Orchestra will also perform for Baker’s annual Christmas Candlelight Vespers in December.