UWS Honors Orchestra performed their latest piece October 2, it was the eighth annual performance for the orchestra. Each year, Dr. Erin Aldridge and UW-Superior Chamber Orchestra host the UW Superior Honors Orchestra. The Honors Orchestra consists of the Northland’s finest high school string players and they come together for a day of clinics and rehearsals with faculty. The rehearsals culminated in a beautiful, evening concert held at the Thorpe Langley Auditorium in Old Main that featured both the Honors Orchestra and the UW– Superior Chamber Orchestra.
This year’s festival, called A Global Journey, showcased multicultural string orchestral music, including pieces from Colombia, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Africa, and Romania. Students had the opportunity to work with UWS string faculty Nixon Bustos (string bass), Nicole Craycraft (violin) and Christina Roytz (Cello). The students and teachers also had the chance to enjoy a meal in the Yellow jacket Union while listening to the UWS Jazz Band performance.
The Global Journey pieces performed by the Honors Orchestra began promptly at 5 o’clock. The orchestra was conducted by Kevin Hoeschen and he did a excellent job with these students. The night started with a piece called Variations on a Theme by Girolamo Frescobaldi, which was a compelling piece to start out the night. The second piece played was Romanian Folk Dances by Bela Bartok. This musical arrangement is usually a suite of six short pieces but only four were played. The four that were played were Joc Cu Bata (Dance with Sticks), Braul (Waistband Dance), Poarca Romaneasca (Romanian Polka), and Maruntel (Quick Dance). Alia Gribbon from Denfeld High School got the chance to showcase her talents in these pieces with a beautiful violin solo.
The next piece, called Moliendo Café was assisted by the UWS Percussion Ensemble. It was arranged by Ricardo Hernandez and it was a very upbeat piece. It was a traditional Colombian salsa piece, which carried itself very well with the addition of the percussion instruments. If you like fast paced, Norwegian music then you would have enjoyed the groups next performance, which was Kevin Hoeschen’s stated personal favorite of the night. This piece was called From Holberg’s Time: Suite in the Olden Style, which was arranged by Edvard Grieg.
David Packa led the next performance and it was by far one of my favorite pieces of the night. This piece was a Traditional Nigerian Greeting Song arranged by Todd Hammes and it was called Eh Wa Ba Wa Jo. the song was composed mostly of percussion instruments. It was a fun song to listen to because of the exciting time the Percussion Ensemble was having performing it. During part of the piece the Orchestra started clapping and singing, which I thought was a welcome addition.
The piece after that one was Irish Tune from County Derry and that was arranged by Percy Grainger. I liked that one a lot as well, it was very cultural sounding. One of the last pieces to the night was music from The Lord of the Dance arranged by Larry Moore. It was a very powerful piece with a solo by Melanie Sever on the flute and on the bodhrán was Michael Lueck. A bodhrán is a traditional Irish drum held in one hand and played with the other in conjunction with a special drum stick.
Finally, the Orchestra went back into the end of the first pieces they had performed earlier in the evening to help finish off the night. Everyone of the artists who performed stood up to take a bow and received a wonderful roar of applause from the crowd. The performance was sixty minutes of well put-together performance that showcased diversity from many cultures around the globe.