By Jordan Williams
Vol. 82 Issue 6 December 14th 2021
On Nov. 18, the SMCM community gathered in Montgomery Recital Hall to listen to a live performance of the St. Mary’s Orchestra. Friends and family members of the musicians cheered in support as the musicians showed off what they had been working on over the past few months. The concert featured several soloists, including MK Meyers on trumpet, Dylan Parham on violin 1, William Capon on oboe, Zayon Morgan and Jonathan Zutt on percussion and Robert Hayes –an SMCM music faculty member on piano.
This concert was really special to the orchestra. It was the first time in two years that the group was able to put on a performance together. Normally, the orchestra does one concert every semester but due to COVID, they have not been able to perform since fall 2019. For three whole semesters since COVID hit, the orchestra met twice a week, mostly over Zoom, and only came together a few times in-person outside when the weather was nice. They did not get enough rehearsal time to put on a concert. Everyone was excited to finally show off their skills and everything they have learned since the last concert.
Angelie Roche is a sophomore violin and viola player in the orchestra. They described the concert as a success, “I think that overall the concert went well. We had a lot of difficult material, so we did experience some trip-ups, but overall I feel really proud to have finished my first concert at SMCM!” The weeks leading up to the concert were stressful for the group. There were delays receiving some of the music scores, so the orchestra had limited time to work on certain songs. “The pieces that we got last turned out to be some of the hardest ones, so everyone was busy practicing and preparing for the concert,” said Angelie.
The lack of instrument variety in the orchestra this year posed a challenge, “Being a small group, we had some unevenness and had to fill in several parts. I actually switched from viola to violin 2 halfway through the semester because there were 5 violas (at that time) and only one 2nd violin,” said Angelie. Some wind instruments were missing entirely from the group. Despite the challenges, the group was able to put on a performance they were proud of.
The orchestra is excited to move into the new music building being built. It is set to open with a full-fledged auditorium. The Montgomery Recital Hall has many acoustic issues that make it difficult to play in. The new building will hopefully fix those issues once it opens next year.