The Public Honors College

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A Summer of Music


July 24, 2014
Press Release #14-051

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Every summer St. Mary’s College student musicians have the opportunity to join the Chesapeake Orchestra to perform alongside seasoned musicians during the popular River Concert Series. To prepare, the students practice with the orchestra, under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag, twice a week at Bowie State University.

Before the start of the 16th Annual River Concert Series—June 20 through July 25— we caught up with six student members to learn about what it takes to make the cut and to get their thoughts on the experience.

This week meet Kaitlin Rose ’14, music major and violinist.

 

What is it like to perform at River Concert Series? 

It's a really enjoyable experience, but a little daunting at times. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to learn entire pieces in a one-week span, but the result is satisfying, being able to play concerts on the Greens surrounded by professional musicians makes it worth it. 

What is it like to work under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag?

Never a dull moment! Jeff is always able to bring a little lightheartedness to any rehearsal, which helps put everyone into a good mood. 

What is it like to perform with professional musicians?

There's so much to learn. Simply playing next to professional musicians really helps to put the repertoire into a larger context. Phrasing, dynamics and other small musical details suddenly become part of a larger musical picture, rather than tiny details in a huge work. 

What is it like to only have two rehearsals prior to every concert?

Practice and preparation is the key! I have to spend quality time listening to recordings of the pieces at least twice, once with my part and then once with a score. If you don't show up prepared for rehearsals, a lot is lost in the rehearsal process.

What aspect of River Concert Series is the most exciting?

Concert day, hands down! There's something about watching the Greens fill up with concert goers that makes me excited to play. 

What is it like to play your instrument in the summer heat?

When it gets really hot, it's amplified ten times over in the tent. But, the concert experience is always worth it. Thankfully, this year hasn't been so bad.

 

The final concert, entitled “The Story Tellers” will feature vocalist Maureen McGovern and a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

 

 

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July 18, 2014                                                                                            

Meet Crosby Cofod ’16, music major, and Glenna Wong ’14, biochemistry and music major, both violinists. 

Q: What is it like to perform at River Concert Series? 

Cofod: The performance experience is always a little bit stressful because you have a microphone directly over you, you know that everyone around you is a very high caliber musician, and you have plenty of people there listening to the music that is expected to be beautiful. Once the concert gets going, you tend to get into the flow of it all and start to have fun with it. It is always a very enjoyable experience!

Wong: It is really exciting because even at 4 p.m. people sit down and watch our rehearsals. It is cool to see the greens fill up with people as 7 p.m. approaches and it is nice to have such an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. It is great to be a part of sharing music with the community.

Q: What is it like to work under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag?

Cofod: Working under the direction of Jeffrey Silberschlag is one of the many things that brought me back this year. Jeff adds humor to the air during rehearsals and always creates a happy and relaxing aura that settles around the orchestra.

Q: What is it like to perform with professional musicians?

Wong: It is a really great experience to observe and learn from professionals. As a student, I don’t have many opportunities to work with people who pursue music as a career, so the River Concert Series makes that an option for me. The professionals are friendly, willing to work with the students, and patient whenever we have difficulties. It is great to work with our teachers who are also in the orchestra; my teacher José Cueto, is the concert master. It is really cool to see him leading the orchestra and to see how a professional ensemble works

Cofod: Most of the professional musicians are very social and welcome any new musicians to the orchestra. It is a fun group of people and that kind of environment makes it easy to simply jump in and play the music. The intimidation factor never really looms its head, considering the professionals are so kind.

Q: What is it like to only have two rehearsals prior to every concert?

Cofod: It is a good experience; it prepares us well for the real music world. In some orchestras or musical groups, you may not get to even have a rehearsal at all. Having two rehearsals is fairly relaxing and sets a comfortable pace that prepares us well for the upcoming concert.

Wong: It can be challenging, but the orchestra makes the most of the rehearsal time. The student orchestra practices twice a week for a whole semester before doing a performance, about 15 times more time than the Chesapeake Orchestra.

Q: What aspect of River Concert Series is the most exciting?

Cofod: I am challenging myself by playing with professional musicians, with a music repertoire that is used in multiple orchestras all over the world. This opportunity is a chance to expand my familiarity with more pieces of music and to prepare me to move on to other orchestras.

Wong: I really like the performances and seeing everyone, but I also like hearing the soloists perform with the orchestra. This week we have a pianist performing. Getting to hear these really talented musicians is always a highlight for me.

Q: What is it like to play your instrument in the summer heat?

Cofod:  Playing the violin in the summer heat is simply hot. Many of the pieces we play require such a high amount of concentration and involve a lot of movement, so it gets very hot. Nevertheless, it is always a fun time!

Wong: This year hasn’t been as bad as I had expected it to be. Usually the Fridays have been a lot cooler than the nights throughout the week. It can get hot on stage, but once you start playing, the music takes over and the focus is not as much on the heat, at least for me.

 

July 11, 2014

Meet Julia Maas ’15, violinist and economics and French major, and Maura Glascock ’15, cellist and music major.

Q: What aspect of River Concert Series are you most excited about?

Maas: I am excited to hear how the sound comes off the stage, all the way across the greens, because every place you play has a really different sound and you can hear your instrument in a different way.

Q: What is it like to perform with professional musicians?

Glascock: Being a part of a professional orchestra that produces an amazing sound is an incredible feeling. This is my third year performing. It is also a learning experience because half the learning from musicians is watching them perform.

Maas: As a violinist, River Concert Series is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to play in a professional musical environment. I am looking forward to playing with professional musicians and learning an advanced musical repertoire.

Q: What is it like to only have two rehearsals prior to every concert?

Maas: A professional orchestra usually has a maximum of two or three rehearsals prior to a concert—so we gain that experience!

Q: What is it like to work under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag?

Glascock: There is a lot to learn from him. He has been incredibly supportive and encourages us to reach our full potential.

Q: What is it like to play your instrument in the summer heat?

Maas: Playing outside is a challenge since we can’t predict the weather beforehand. The heat and wind make playing difficult, but are part of the River Concert Series experience.

Glascock: I think the hardest part of River Concert Series is the heat.

Q: What have you learned from being a part of River Concert Series?

Glascock: I first applied because I thought it would be a great way to continue studying music during the summer and build a repertoire. Even though this is true, I've learned a whole lot more. In the first year I learned a lot about how an orchestra is run, how to work with professional musicians, and how much work is put in to those Friday night concerts. This summer, I am working with the Chesapeake Orchestra on development and fundraising. The experience has helped me realize I want to pursue a career in arts administration.

Maas: Being part of River Concert Series has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about the professional music world and all that goes into creating a concert series. 

 

July 4, 2014

Meet cellist Amanda Durst ’16 and double bass player Henry Boyles ’16, both music majors.

Q: What is it like to perform at River Concert Series?

Durst:  It’s unlike any experience you could ever imagine. Thousands of people are attending the concerts, and you would think that would make you nervous, but it’s a relaxed atmosphere. The orchestra is having a good time, Jeff is having a good time, and the audience is enjoying the concert.

It is an honor to perform at the River Concert Series. I grew up in St. Mary’s County and I’ve been attending the River Concert Series since I was young.

Boyles: It’s a social event as much as a listening event so the musicians try to have as much fun with the concert as possible.

Q: What aspect of River Concert Series are you most excited about?

Durst: I’m looking forward to playing pieces I’ve never played before and working with the fabulous orchestra.

Q: Is it intimidating to play with professional musicians?

Durst: I want to play professionally as my ultimate career goal, so it is nice to see that these are people doing what I want to do and I can learn a lot from them.

Boyles: The professionals value the students’ musicianship and it is great to play with such skillful musicians who have worked at this all their lives. They are great role models.

Q: What is it like to work under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag?

Boyles: Jeff likes to share his stories with the orchestra and get people to connect with the music and his own experience with the music. He brings a personal aspect to his conducting and directing style.

Q: Is there anything about River Concert Series that you are nervous about?

Boyles: Our instruments are very fragile and very susceptible to the weather, so I am interested to see how the orchestra will handle the intense summer weather.