BW Symphony Upper East Tour

As the rest of the campus was headed home for spring break, the members of the BW Symphony Orchestra were still hard at work: from Friday, March 3rd through Thursday, March 7th, these students were busy with a tour of the Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. areas.

The tour was centered around the orchestra’s performances of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. This four-movement orchestral work was composed in 1888 and remains one of the most popular and beloved works in the orchestral repertoire. “It’s timeless,” said Dr. Octavio Más-Arocas, the conductor of the orchestra. “It’s very romantic, it’s very beautiful, [and] it’s very energetic at the same time.”

The BW orchestra has been studying the Tchaikovsky symphony intimately since the fall. Their first performance of the work was in their December 2nd concert; they also performed it at the Ohio Music Educators Association Conference on February 2nd.

The orchestra had intensive rehearsals for the tour on both Friday evening and Saturday morning, but the tour officially began on Saturday evening with a kickoff concert in Gamble Auditorium. The BW Orchestra shared this concert with the Concertino Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra, two BW Community Music School youth orchestras under the direction of Laura Joss.

The BW orchestra spent much of Saturday morning in side-by-side rehearsals with the youth orchestras to prepare for the evening’s concert. In this unique collaborative opportunity, the BW students were able to work closely with the youth orchestra members, playing for them and offering helpful advice. “[It] was an incredible experience,” said junior Music Education major Joe Fudale. “Both groups were excited to play for and work with each other.”

The BW orchestra left campus for Pittsburgh on Sunday; on Monday and Tuesday, they visited four area middle schools and high schools. At each of these schools, the orchestra performed part or all of the Tchaikovsky symphony for the students. In addition to these performances, the BW orchestra also had the opportunity to interact with students from each school, whether it be a simple question-and-answer session or a side-by-side rehearsal with a high school ensemble.

On Wednesday, the BW orchestra spent the day in Washington, D.C.; in the evening, they put on their capstone performance of the tour at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Ensembles from Robinson High School opened the concert, and the BW orchestra closed with their final performance of the Tchaikovsky symphony.

“Without a doubt, the most memorable experience for me on tour was our final performance,” said Fudale. “After months of preparation, rehearsal, and dedication, we truly put on an incredible concert and exemplified what it means to be a BW Conservatory musician.”

The orchestra returned to campus on Thursday to enjoy the remaining three days of a well-earned break.