Orchestras both play at concert

The whistling air outside provides a steady backbeat. Guests are tussled by the turbulent Santa Ana winds as they fight their way up the St. Michael’s parking lot drive.

Led by instrumental teacher William McClain, the concert on Oct. 20 featured the Concert Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra.

The first to perform was the Concert Orchestra, playing the “Russian Sailors’ Dance” composed by Reinhold Gliére from “The Red Poppy.”

“This is a series of dancing after an initial overture,” McClain said, referring to the slow beginning of the “Sailor’s Dance.”

This is the first year that Concert Orchestra has performed alongside the Symphony Orchestra in a fall Concerto Concert.

In past years, they have played once at the winter Concerto Concert.

This year they will play “at every concert alongside the other orchestras,” McClain said.
After the Concert Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, led by Jack McFadden-Talbot ’09 as Concertmaster, performed the “Orchestral Suite” by Bach.

“You’ll notice that I won’t be conducting this one as much [as the other],” McClain said before the piece began. “In the days this piece was written, the conductor wasn’t one person necessarily. But he played either the piano, like Andy (Alden ’09, principal keyboard player) or the violin, like Jack (McFadden-Talbot, Concertmaster). I play neither, so I will lead from the viola.”

Chamber Orchestra is a new orchestral group, founded this year by McClain. Members are chosen by McClain from the Symphony Orchestra, and the group rehearses once a week.

Featuring a short solo by Caroline Chien ’09, the “Bach Suite” was greeted with applause from the audience.

The concert also featured two soloists who were accompanied by the orchestras.

Soloists for the concerts audition for McClain at the beginning of the year with their chosen music.
If they are chosen as soloists, then they rehearse with the orchestra, which accompanies them.

Claudine Yee ’10 played the second movement from the Violin Concerto in E Minor Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn.

“It’s a slow piece, and it has a lot of feeling,” Yee said. “I enjoy playing it.”

Yee was accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra as she performed her violin solo.

McFadden-Talbot also performed a violin solo. He performed the Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Orchestra in B minor Op. 61 by Camille Saint-Saens. 

“It is an intense challenge, but one of the more exciting things I have ever played,” McFadden-Talbot said.

The last piece of the evening was the “Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Strauss Jr., performed by the Symphony Orchestra.

Before going to a nearby room for refreshments, McClain thanked the audience and the students who performed.

“My life has changed so much,” McClain said. “I’m in a new state, a new coast, a new apartment, a new school. I’ve had to change so many things. I certainly appreciate all of the hard work [the students] have done for me and for you.”