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Out of the 16 con­certo com­pe­tition per­formers who audi­tioned for a chance to solo in the March orchestra concert, five finalists were chosen: sophomore Larae Fer­guson, juniors Aaron Sandford, Ellen Roundey, and Ryne Bessmer,  and senior Becky Schoon.

“I would hate to be one of the judges because there are so many beau­tiful musi­cians,” junior Aaron Sandford said. “It’s easy to think that when there are so many good musi­cians, you can’t win without a perfect audition.”

Roundey will perform the first movement of Dmitri Kabalevsky’s “Cello Con­certo No. 2” on the cello,  and Bessmer will play the 3rd movement of Henryk Wieniawski’s “Violin Con­certo No. 2” on the violin.

“I am very excited, somewhat ter­rified for the piece, but super excited for the concert,” Roundey said. “I’m not sure what Ryne is playing, but the March Concert tends to be more modern.”

In the May Concert, senior Becky Schoon will be singing the aria “Ozean du Unge­heuer” (meaning “Ocean, Thou Mighty Monster”) from the opera “Oberon” com­posed by Carl Maria von Weber, Sandford will be singing the famous aria “Largo al Fac­totum” from the opera “Il Bar­biere di Siviglia” (meaning “The Barber of Seville”) by Giachino Rossini, and Fer­guson will play the first movement of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Third Violin Con­certo.”

“This is the fourth time I com­peted in the con­certo com­pe­tition,” Schoon said. “It is very rewarding to have the oppor­tunity to play with the orchestra.This aria is very dra­matic, my char­acter com­ments on the power of the ocean, and  she gets excited because she thinks she is going to be rescued.”

Fer­guson said she con­siders the oppor­tunity a priv­ilege.

“It really is a rare honor to get to play with an orchestral accom­pa­niment,” she said. “Even at huge music schools it is a rare priv­ilege.”

Despite months of practice and years of expe­rience, Roundey said she was still sur­prised when she heard that she had a chance to perform.

“I was com­pletely con­vinced I wouldn’t win, so when I got the email I nearly had a heart attack,” she said.

The concert reper­toires include  diverse moods expressing age-old human emo­tions.

“The majority of the piece is in the slower parts, so it is very sor­rowful, but it has a very simple melody which comes out during the fast parts,” Roundey said. “I think it has that power of someone crying out against the injustice in the world.”

While some play pieces that speak to the pas­sions, others choose to tickle the sense of humor.

“A lot of the reason this piece per­forms so well is that it is humorous and I do my best to ham it up,” Sandford said. “I try to be as big and full as pos­sible, and and act at the same time, and the judges enjoyed  it.”

 tsawyer1@hillsdale.edu