Curtis Meyer reporter
The Southeast Kansas Symphony held its last performance of the season on Sunday, March 26th, at the Bicknell Center for Performing Arts. Titled Rising Stars, it was a farewell concert as much as an exhibition, as it only lasted an hour, and much time was spent applauding the members of the symphony that were retiring or graduating.
The Southeast Kansas Symphony, or SEK, was founded in 1915 by Walter McCray. Those familiar with Pitt State’s campus know that the music hall is named after McCray. The symphony hosts four major performances each year, as they strive to be a part of the culture here at Pitt State.
“Personally, I think it was little underwhelming of a performance, being in the middle of a Sunday didn’t have a large audience, which usually gives you a little bit of an edge. As far as the notes and execution, I feel like we performed as well as we are able to,” said junior Hunter Hines, a student performer in the symphony.
The symphony is led by Raul Munguia and is different from other orchestras as faculty and students perform together in each concert. The selection of songs chosen for this performance varied greatly.
The first song was called American Landscape, written by Soon Hee Newhold. Telling the story of the American countryside as seen through a train, Newhold was inspired by the many diverse cultures and backgrounds of the nation.
This was followed by “Quel guardo il cavaliere,” a piece from an Italian opera by Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti. Part of the opera Don Pasquale, a comic opera that marked the end of an era of the 19th century opera buffa tradition. This was sung by Sara Flessner.
This was followed by Ruggero Leonvallo’s “Vesti la Giubba” or Put on the Costume. Part of the opera Pagliacci, this is a popular opera that you may have heard before in popular tv. Pagliacci means clowns in Italian, and the theme is that of the sad clown who must put on his happy mask. This was performed by Xavier Moore.
They then performed Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, written by Alexander Arutunian. Featuring an impressive trumpet solo by Tyler Fries, this piece is a staple for trumpeters around the world.
The last performance of the afternoon was of Finlandia Op. 26 Tone Poem, written by Johan Julius Christian Sibelius and Jean Sibelius. Part of Finland’s 19th century movement to highlight its national identity apart from the Russian Empire, it is based on the old hymnal “Be Still, My Soul.”
“I thought it was really good, the singers were excellent, and the trumpet player they brought out to play his own solo, he was amazing. I would say the fourth song was my favorite, with the trumpet, because it sounds familiar, almost like Indiana Jones. I know it’s not, but it sounds familiar, so I enjoyed it,” said freshman James Collett.
The Southeast Kansas Symphony will announce its next season of events later this year, as they move on from graduating members and look towards the future.