“I’ve never soloed with an orchestra before,” Rendle, the grand prize winner, said, “so I’m expecting it to be a little intimidating, but also really thrilling — and a real privilege.”
Juniors Tova Forman, a violinist, and Clara Fishlock, a flutist, will perform in the March orchestra concert. Seniors Heather Woodhouse and Gregory Farison, a flutist and a cellist, earned honorable mentions.
Three judges, musicians or faculty from music departments at nearby schools, select the winners. This year the judges were a pianist from Ann Arbor, an orchestra conductor at Hope College, and the head of the music department at Wayne State University.
For almost 20 years, the music department has hosted its Concerto/Aria Competition to select four to five students to perform solo pieces during the spring orchestra concerts.
To compete in the competition, students typically begin practicing their pieces the spring semester the year before, but Rendle, a transfer student, didn’t begin learning her piece until a couple of weeks into the fall semester. Her violin instructor, Professor of Music Melissa Knecht, invited her to practice one of two pieces, and Rendle chose Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26, 1st.”
“I thought it was more emotional, or haunting, and beautiful,” Rendle said.
Ryskamp auditioned for the competition last year, but this was the first time he placed. He’ll perform Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58, 1st” on piano.
“This piece has an element of sensitivity and subtlety that last year’s piece didn’t have as much,” Ryskamp said.
Finegan, a soprano, will perform Menotti’s “Steal Me, Sweet Thief” from “The Old Maid and the Thief.”
The Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra will perform March 1 and May 10.
Knecht, who prepared both Rendle and Forman to perform solo with the orchestra, said the student musicians at Hillsdale impressed her with their talent and diligence.
“I think at Hillsdale we have, in our music department, some really gifted and intelligent students who are just devoted to anything that they do,” Knecht said. “Any commitment they take on, they have the joy of accomplishing it in extraordinary ways.”