Strings and celebrations


By Andrew Wernette

Varner Recital Hall came alive Sunday, Feb. 16, with the 17th Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert. Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance was responsible for holding the event.

The concert is named after former Music Director David Daniels. Part of its purpose is to exemplify student talent in musical studies.

The concert was performed by the Oakland Symphony Orchestra (OSO), a combination of students, alumni, faculty and notable musicians from the southeast Michigan area. Gregory Cunningham, Director of Orchestral Studies at Oakland University and Music Director of the OSO, led the orchestra for the evening.

“This is really an opportunity to showcase what goes on here at the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance,” Cunningham said in his address to the audience.

Many people, young and old, turned out for the event.

“I’ve taken a couple of music classes and have had to come here before,” said Vinnie Warren, a sophomore. Warren explained that he had come to take notes on the concert and the auditorium.

The performance began with Overture to Oberon by von Weber, a festive piece with a courtly rhythm. The next selection, “Voi Lo Sapete” from Cavalleria rusticana, featured an operatic feat sung by soprano Samantha Wood, a Master’s student at OU. Eric Essler, a junior at OU and a renowned saxophonist in the Southeast Michigan area, soloed along with the orchestra for the piece Scaramouche.

Other student soloists who performed with the orchestra included soprano singer Ann Toomey in “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante” from Carmen, and pianist Alexander Kopitz in Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18, by Rachmaninoff.

“I thought it was very good,” audience member Mike Hickey said after the performance. He said he attended because a partner of his was one of the bassoon players.

“All of the solos were very good,” he said.

Cunningham, the director of the orchestra, agreed on the program’s success.

“It’s very unnerving,” Cunningham said of the pressure soloists can face onstage. He thought that they had put on a good show this year.

Cunningham explained that the concert has been held annually for a few decades, being renamed after David Daniels left the position of Music Director. He does not see it ending any time soon.

“This will probably go on as long as the orchestra is in residence,” he said.


Contact Staff Reporter Andrew Wernette at [email protected]