Ithaca College visits music ensembles Orchestra and Choir perform alongside college musicians

Lya Rothmann, Contributing Writer

Seeing college level musicians aspiring to be professionals in the field is very encouraging for high school students.

The Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra came to school for a performance in the auditorium for the second consective year on April 18.

Last year, the orchestra came exclusively for the Schreiber show.  This year, they also planned another performance at Lincoln Center the same weekend.

“Since I attended Ithaca, they contacted me around late August 2012 to begin planning for this month’s events,” said orchestra teacher Mr. Anthony Pinelli.  “This is the first year that both a school visit and a large performance were planned together.”

The first day of the visit included the concert in the Schreiber auditorium.  With an introduction from Mr. Thomas Kline, Ithaca’s Director of Music Admissions, The beginning of the school concert featured the Ithaca College Choir, another first for this year.  They sang the “Laudibus in Sanctis” by William Byrd and “Hymn to St.  Cecilia, Op.  27” by Benjamin Britten.

For the first song, the choir stood in the isles to emulate a “surround sound” type of effect for the audience, according to Mr. Lawrence Doebler, the Choir conductor of the College.   Soon after, the school’s choir joined the Ithaca students to sing “Choose Something Like a Star.”

“I personally love these types of songs because they really give me the chills,” said junior Diego Hidalgo, “You don’t just hear the song; you can truly feel it.”

After an intermission, the Ithaca Symphony Orchestra and Schreiber’s own Symphonic Orchestra performed Tchaikovsky’s “Andante Cantabile”, which was featured at the Night of 1,000 Strings in February.

Once the high school string students left the stage, the college students were joined by wind and percussion instrumentalists for the rest of the show, in which they performed “Concerto for Orchestra”, composed by Witold Lutoslawski.

All of these songs, with the exception of the Tchaikovsky piece, were featured at the Lincoln Center.

“It’s really nice that they came down,” said sophomore Victoria Shamir. “Mr. Pinelli is really excited to have them here, and he was really looking forward to it.”

The visit was also generally well-received by Ithaca students.

“It was a really great time.  And it’s good that everybody’s excited to listen,” said Ithaca sophomore Joe D’esposito.  “It’s always exciting to play for new people, in a new place.”

The following Friday morning, music students were excused from their first period class for a workshop-type performance, where the Ithaca students performed in smaller groups.

Some of the acts included a violin and double-bass duet that performed an old Irish folk tune called “Coffee.”  Another group consisting of all the Ithaca percussionists performed a piece named “Clapping,” which used only the hands to show variations of a given rhythm.

“Honestly, it’s a piece that a lot of percussionists know, it’s very popular,” said Ithaca senior Chris Demitriou.  “We didn’t have any instruments here to play with, so we figured we should do a piece that doesn’t need instruments.”

The college students also had the chance to work more individually with high school choir students.

“The students of the high school got to interact and rehearse one on one with the college students, to experience music emotionally, physically, enhancing their vocal technique beyond anything they’ve experienced before, which has now transcended their musicianship to the higher level,” said choir director Mr. John Spezio III.

Later that day the orchestra and choir took a field trip to the Twentieth Century Anniversary concert inside the Alice Tully Hall.

The concert included songs played the night before, as well as “Gloria” by Francis Poulenc, and Atmospheres by Gyrgy Ligeti.  At the end of the night, the Ithaca Symphony Orchestra and Choir received a standing ovation from almost the entire audience.

“ I previously heard some of the pieces the night before, but it was still definitely breathtaking,” said senior Nick Schwartz.