Three of Ventura’s ensembles tug on the heartstrings of a filled auditorium


String Orchestra during their performance of Passacaglia from String Quartet No. 10” by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Saida Delgadillo and Tanya Turchyn

Students who all share passion for music came together Thursday night, Dec. 6, to showcase a performance by three different ensembles. The groups were taught by Paul Hunt, but while in concert, were led both by Hunt and various student conductors.

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The first performance of the night was from Ventura’s Concert Band, a group that senior Mikayla Williams is currently involved in. Williams expressed to The Cougar Press that the date of the concert was moved up which made it “a little more challenging than usual” to prepare the pieces. However, she confidently stated, “We rose to the occasion and it was really fun.”

The group performed 4 pieces– “Normandy Beach March” by Edmondson, “Rhythms and Riffs” by Balmages, “Hope” by Smith, and “Windroc Overture” by Browne.

Senior Sierra Limneos, who is also in the Band, commented that out of all of the pieces, the last was her favorite because “we [Limneos and Williams] had a solo, so that’s kind of fun–it was exciting, it was different.”

Bassoonists Limneos and Williams, performed in the Concert Band. Williams commented on her favorite piece, “I would say “Hope” [because] it was more of a ballad piece and it felt really smooth and connected.” Photo by: Saida Delgadillo
The next group of the night was the String Ensemble, which features classic orchestra instruments, as well as unconventional additions like guitar. The ensemble performed three pieces, including famous additions like Narro’s “España Cañi” and Offenbach’s “Can-Can.”

The last group of the night was the highest ensemble of the three, Ventura’s Honors String Orchestra, who featured four pieces as well as a three-minute trio cello performance. The solo performance preceded the Orchestra’s transition into “Gypsy Dance No. 5” by Keler.

The following pieces were “Passacaglia from String Quartet No. 10” by Shostakovich, “Brevard Sketches” by Del Borgo, and “Jig from St. Paul’s Suite” by Holst.

Junior Lindsey Froelich, who plays bass in the Honors Orchestra, commented on the difficulty of the Orchestra’s pieces, stating, “The pieces were all really hard in different ways just because the Shostakovich, while it was technically the easiest, you had to put a lot of emotion into it, you really had to convey the composer’s meaning. Whereas, for me personally, Brevard Sketches, which was the Del Borgo piece, was easier to convey [in terms of] the mood of the piece, but the actual technicality of it was a little bit harder.”

The Holst piece, the last piece of the night, was performed without any assistance from a conductor. Junior Emily Dahm, commented that, in fact, this factor made it her favorite piece of the night. She commented that not having a conductor made it so the players “got to just listen to each other” and figure out how “each part intermingled and mixed with the others.”

The night was both successful for many musicians in Ventura’s Music Department, as well as one of the last for many seniors. Williams underlined that this has so far been “the best year” because “[she] know[s] it’s [her] last shot, so [she’s] not as stressed out and [is] just having a good time.”

The next performances coming from the Music Department will be the Chamber Music Spring Showcase, which will feature smaller groups of students performing pieces they’ve chosen, from genres both classical and popular. The Showcase will be in the Little Theater, on Feb. 8 and 9, so come enjoy.