The Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra will perform their Concerto Showcase at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, featuring the winners from the Spring 2020 Aria and Concerto competition in vocal, strings, brass, harp, piano and woodwind categories.
Held in Rodeheaver Auditorium, this showcase will display the work of BJU’s own student body with soloists Ellie Myers, Daniel Hudson, Lauren Davies, Krista Hagglund and Marianne Freeman—all students in the music program at BJU. This concert includes multiple shorter pieces, as opposed to fewer long pieces with multiple movements, promising to make the concert fast-paced.
Multiple challenges face the students and faculty as they work to make this production a reality. With many college campuses remaining closed or recently closing because of mounting COVID-19 outbreaks, BJU is not only staying open but is also putting on this multiple-piece performance.
The BJUSO is working within specific implemented procedures as they prepare for this event. The orchestra members spread out for rehearsals and will perform in a significantly larger space than normally used for this type of event. Anne Smith, a cello performance major and first-chair cellist in the concert, said rehearsals look different this year.
“With the new COVID precautions, it just adds an extra element of difficulty,” she said. “Usually, the strings section sits two to [each] stand so every section member has a stand buddy. Being secluded . . . makes you focus more on your part and it’s also a good motivator just to practice,” Smith said.
Smith said she does miss the relationship building that occurs between stand buddies but said the changes this year have brought the students together in another way. “It brings us closer together because we have to be more aware of what’s going on,” she said.
Ellie Myers, a music education major and piano soloist in the concert, said, “Dr. Moore has been such a positive leader and has done everything in his power to make this concert possible, even though he has faced significant challenges. The students have also been gracious in their response to all the rehearsal protocols and have worked hard to make it a success.”
Myers said she is really excited for the opportunity to play a piano solo with an orchestra. “God enabled me to get this opportunity,” Myers said. “I am completely dependent on Him to empower me in my preparation and also in my performance. I hope that it will be an enjoyable experience for me and for the audience that I get to share it with.”
Despite the challenges of physically distanced rehearsals and the overwhelming changes due to COVID-19, students and faculty continue toward their goal of a successful performance. Dr. Michael Moore, chair of the division of Music at BJU and director of the BJUSO, eagerly anticipates the showcase and deeply appreciates the diligent work from the students involved in it.
“This is a unique event, not just on our campus but in all of Greenville,” Moore said. “I’m really proud of our students, and I can’t wait for our campus community to come out and give them the support they deserve.”