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.”