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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M orchestras prepare for first performance of school year

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Photo by Provided

The Texas A&M string Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. in Rudder Theatre on Oct. 14. 

From Baroque to Bernstein, Texas A&M’s string orchestras will open up their fall concert series with diverse music anyone can enjoy.
The Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra will play their first concert of the semester in Rudder Theatre on Oct. 14. The orchestras will perform Baroque and early Romantic era music, as well as 20th-century music by Spanish and American composers, including a selection from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” The Chamber Orchestra will follow with Irish and English folk inspired music, ending the concert with Antonín Dvorák’s “Serenade for Strings.”
Director of orchestras Travis Almany said the music is chosen to provide student musicians with a challenge that is manageable in a short time frame, while giving the public something attractive to listen to.
“The first thing I always look at is it has to be good music,” Almany said. “I don’t want to waste the students’ time with something that’s just trash.”
The orchestras are made of about 110 students that are divided between the two, Almany said.
“It’s very representative of the overall demographics of the university,” Almany said. “If you boil the 65,000-person university down to 110 people, it would probably look very similar to our orchestras.”
Almany said the orchestras at A&M are different than other universities in that his students are not music majors.
“[The students] are just here because they want to play,” Almany said. “Whereas a school of music might throw some ‘avant-garde’ stuff because it’s good for the students to know it. … Here the focus is to get all these [students] a time that they can just come relax and enjoy making music.”
Mechanical engineering Ph.D. student Timothy Kroeger said he has found the time to play viola in the orchestra every semester since 2011, when he started his bachelor’s degree. Kroeger said he is looking forward to playing Dvorák’s “Serenade for Strings.”
“The serenade is great,” Kroeger said. “I really like non-German European music. I like the more obscure European music. … I love Dvorák, who is Czech. I think the Eastern European flare is interesting.”
Applied mathematics and computer cience junior Hunter Hewitt is going into his third year playing double bass for the orchestra. Hewitt said the drop in intensity from competition-focused high school orchestra programs has made for a more enjoyable experience.
“It is a class credit, so I make sure I stay on top of it, but for me it doesn’t feel like extra hours,” Hewitt said. “It’s a time when I can just go and relieve stress.”
Almany said he hopes the audience will have a meaningful experience at the upcoming concert.
“Twenty years from now, they might not remember what we played, but I want them to remember that feeling that they had when we played – those goosebump moments when everything was just right,” Almany said.
The concert will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday. It is free to everyone with an A&M student ID and $5 for non-students.

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  • The Texas A&M string Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. in Rudder Theatre on Oct. 14. 

    Photo by Provided

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