Orchestra ends year on high note


Kristine Cho

The lights blazed in the Performing Arts Center, illuminating the stage as the orchestra tuned in a discordant harmony. After coming onstage, Chamber Orchestra director Jeanne Lambson, voice filled with emotion, announced her retirement to the audience.
She then turned the tone around as she introduced the first piece of the April 30th orchestra concert, the last one of the year. The Concert Orchestra began with “Gabriel’s Oboe”, a piece taken from the movie soundtrack of The Mission performed by the concert orchestra.
As the last notes of Larry Moore’s arrangement of “Les Miserables” faded out, there were a couple announcements: The first, a farewell to the seniors graduating. The second, a thank you to the directors, with a touching goodbye to Lambson.
The program of the last concert is always the most interesting of the year, with songs deviating from the regular “just classical” repertoire. The concert orchestra performed the jazz piece, “Green Onions,” right after “Gabriel’s Oboe”. Following those two pieces, the Chamber Orchestra played Brahms’ “Academic Festival”, “Sing Sing Sing,” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
“[With] it being the last concert, we were doing a lot more heavier things, more traditional things,” band and Concert Orchestra director Steve Mathews said. “It was nice to play something that was a little lighter and put the stress off of everything and just kind of have some fun.”
Mathews and Lambson worked together in planning the concert’s program, with Lambson continuing her tradition in the spirit of finishing off the year with a different and exciting program.
“It’s a fun time. We’re done with contests and with all the intense pieces, fall and holiday and stuff,” Lambson said. “I like ending on a light note. “
As fun as the new pieces were, they were still challenging. Pieces threw improvised solos and new styles into the program for that night, posing a difficult task for the musicians.
Jae Powell, a freshman violinist from the concert orchestra, said that “Green Onions” was the most difficult piece for their group, with people tripping up over rhythms.
“[‘Green Onions’] wasn’t about getting the right notes; it was mostly just about tempo and the times where we had to rest and stuff,” Powell said. “It was hard for many students who count the rests to be on time of when to get in. It was pretty fast, but we kind of took it slower. That was a bit of a challenge.”
For the Chamber Orchestra, most agree that “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was a strong contender for the title of “most difficult,” but the other two pieces were not to be ignored.
In her second year of participating in the Chamber Orchestra as a violist, sophomore Lily Fisher said that, because of their speeds, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Sing Sing Sing” were the hardest, the latter in particular because of its unfamiliar style.
“‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ [was the toughest] because it’s really fast. Either that or ‘Sing Sing Sing’ because of the new rhythms, and it also was taken at a really high tempo.”
Senior Lily Farnen, concertmistress of the Chamber Orchestra, says that “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was the hardest, but also mentions her solo in “Sing Sing Sing” as something to be reckoned with.
“I think ‘[The] Devil Went Down to Georgia’ [was the hardest piece] but I was kind of scared about ‘Sing Sing Sing’ with my solo,“ Farnen said. “I really liked ‘[The] Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ because it was fun… we were worried about it, but ended up sounding good. “
Through the excitement and difficulties, Lambson cherishes her memories of the orchestra, with her retiring at the end of this year.
“It’s been wonderful,” Lambson said. “What’s crazy is that all of my children went to Hickman, and so when I came here, it was really strange. But I really will treasure my years here at Rock Bridge.”
By Kris Cho