November 18 at 7 p.m. the Bethel College Philharmonia Orchestra will perform their Fall Concert in Memorial Hall.
They will be performing two works, Dvorak’s 8th Symphony and John Sibelius’s Karelia Suite. The concert takes on a Nationalist Folklore theme.
“Dvorak is primarily known as a Nationalist composer. He composed music of Central Euporean folkloric quality,” Chris Westover, director of instrumental music and conductor of the orchestra, said. “Of all of his symphonies, this is the one that is most in that character.”
Westover added, “It really tells a story. You don’t have to imagine much. You can hear the birds chirping and all the different forest animals and all of that. You hear that, you hear this almost call to a dance and then there’s a big kind of central European barn and the whole town comes out to this kind of dance. It’s really terrific. It’s one of his most popular symphonies.”
Dvorak is a reoccurring composer in the orchestra’s repertoire, partially due to the capability that is added when the students combine with community members and professionals on Mondays.
“The principal violin, viola and bass players are Wichita Symphony and faculty members,” Westover said. “And donations at this concert go to help fund this orchestra. Making that kind of cooperative effort where we can have the faculty working side by side, that doesn’t happen even at big universities. The faculty never play in the orchestras. So that’s a really big deal that they can do that.”
The group was envisioned and formed last year by Professor of Music Timothy Shade, who is taking a sabbatical to further his education.
Even with Shade being away, Westover has been able to come in and keep the program going and moving forward.
“I think it works out well,” Westover said. “It’s an interesting orchestra because it is a mixture. The students get to see me two other days a week with Chamber Orchestra and they have gotten to know me and kind of figure out how I work and how I am different from my predecessor, and then with the Monday night group because it is a once a week get together orchestra.”
“I feel like from the community members who are vocal, they feel like it’s going well and they appreciate it,” Westover added. “And because of that they feel like it’s a little bit more of a professional situation. And because it’s a larger group, I don’t work with them as intimately as I work with the Chamber Orchestra which is a group of maybe about twelve people. It’s just a different group.”
The program will last right around an hour with no intermission.
“It’s a Monday night; it’s not going to be a marathon,” Westover said.
There is no fee to get into the concert, but donations are welcome.