July 21, 2024

Gordon Symphony Increases In Student Musicians

Jong-hun Bae conducts Gordon symphony. Photo by Nate McReynolds.

By Vicki Franks ’20
Staff Reporter

The A. J. Gordon Chapel was filled with music on Saturday, October 28, during Gordon’s Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert.

After semester-long preparation, the orchestra brought to life the music of Beethoven, Sibelius, Grieg, and Schubert in front of the largest crowd they’ve had since conductor Dr. Jong-hun Bae started at Gordon three years ago.

“People are.. [noticing] that we have the orchestra… It’s just not [an] orchestra [where] they play just a couple… notes… But they know that we can make actual music out of it,” Bae said.

In the past, the orchestra has invited guest players to fill in the gaps of missing or low numbers on a certain instrument. He explained that it is particularly difficult to find players for the wind or brass instruments, which in turn affects the music choices for the concerts. This most recent performance marked the lowest number of guest players in three years, Bae said.

The eight weeks of practice was obvious as the orchestra’s sound rose and fell with incredible precision.   

“Last night’s concert was such a great culmination of the hard work we have done as an orchestra so far this semester. It has been great to see both the orchestra and our audiences grow in size, as I have been playing viola in the orchestra the past two years,” Rachel O’Connor ‘20 said.

The last half of the concert featured a 30-minute piece, which challenged the players to achieve something beyond the typical-length song. Bae said he hopes to continue to drive Gordon’s orchestra to the next level with this push for expansion and artistic growth.

Gordon’s symphony orchestra rehearses twice a week for hour and a half sessions. Although Bae encourages as much extra practice as possible, he explained that that’s really up to the student. It was apparent Saturday night that his students had taken his advice.

Bae’s vision for the orchestra is two-fold. The orchestra’s conductor said he hopes to not only physically expand the orchestra so that one day they won’t need guest players, but he also hopes to push his musicians artistically.

The Symphony Orchestra is next scheduled to perform on Friday, December 1 for Gordon’s Annual Christmas Gala.

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