NMU orchestra performs


Mary McDonough

People of all ages came in from the cold winds of Wednesday night to enjoy an hour of classical music put together by the
NMU Orchestra.

Twice a semester, 41 students and four community members that make up the NMU Orchestra share their talent and passion for music. The music was specifically chosen to take the audience on a journey through three historical eras of classical music: classical, romantic and contemporary, while also showing how the students can perform difficult pieces with the four movements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

The group had limited time to practice the six pieces of music. Since the third week in October, they practiced for two hours every Monday and Wednesday during their class time with Conductor Barbara Rhyneer.

“It’s been a challenge this particular semester since I chose a whole symphony,” Rhyneer said. “A classical symphony has a lot of refined work you need to do.”

Having taught the NMU Orchestra for 22 years, Rhyneer has seen different groups, all with varying abilities. This year’s group was one that she saw as up to the challenge of Beethoven.

“I usually don’t choose that type of thing when I only have a month,” Rehyneer said. “I had to do the Beethoven because I knew it might be my only chance.”

Before taking on Beethoven, senior secondary music education major and principal flautist Catherine Nevala was given the opportunity to conduct the ensemble for Brian Balmages’ On Top of the World.

Prepping for the concert with only four hours a week had students spending many hours practicing on their own time along with class rehearsals. Junior political science major and Principal Bassist Simon Moesch looks back on the process to prepare for the concert.

“It took a lot of in-class practicing going over the hard parts over and over and over again, until I could get them right,” Moesch said. “Beethoven is definitely one of the harder pieces I’ve played.”

Getting to perform such challenging music that has taken a collective effort is something senior secondary social studies education major and concertmaster Raina Shizas views as a stress reliever.

“It’s more of a workout than people think,” Shizas said. “I’ve been in orchestras for most of my career, playing the violin for 16 or 17 years now and it’s
definitely an adrenaline rush. Pretty much everyone out
here broke a sweat.”

Such demanding music takes a large amount of stamina
without tiring out the musicians and risking broken strings or
bow hairs.

The NMU orchestra will host their annual Holiday Collage Concert on Thursday,
December 6.