Orchestra finishes third concert, prepares for final

Although it has only been part of Oakland University for just over a year, the OU Chamber

Orchestra has found success for its members on the Varner stage.

Tuesday’s concert marked the third concert the Chamber Orchestra has performed since its initiation in January 2010.

Alan MacNair, the conductor and founding director of the Chamber Orchestra, was approached by the University to start the program. MacNair said he thought that the time was right for a string culture to grow at OU.

“While the University has a very strong band, vocal, and dance program, the string program was very small, and didn’t have a focus at the school,” MacNair said. “Hopefully, this group will serve that function, and prove to be a catalyst for the string program in general.”

The orchestra, which is an all student group of both major and non-major musicians, has been working on pieces for the concert since after the Christmas holiday.

The concert featured music by J.S. Bach, Jean Sibelius, David Gillingham and Nicolo Paganini.

The orchestra consists of 12 regular members, and MacNair said new performers are added each concert.

Yesterday’s concert welcomed three trumpets, two oboes, a tympani and harpsichord to the string orchestra.

In contrast to the new performers, the orchestra is relying on a familiar face to lead the show.

Brittney Brewster, a senior majoring in instrumental music education with a focus in strings, will be serving as concertmaster for her third show.

Brewster said she enjoys being part of the orchestra to deviate from participation in the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and small chamber ensembles.

“It is a nice change-up from sitting next to a semi-professional to a student,” Brewster said.

Brewster believes being concertmaster will provide confidence to step up in front of an orchestra she will be teaching after graduation. This is her last full semester before student teaching in fall.

“It builds character, gets me thinking on my feet when someone asks me a question during rehearsal, and what is happening for the next week if someone missed orchestra,” Brewster said.

Brewster said that each concert she has participated in has included diverse music from the Baroque period to newer compositions. Excited about Tuesday’s selections, she said it is fun to add winds to the ensemble to “make the chamber piece come to life.”

Brewster said she liked being concertmaster not only to prepare her for the future, but it has also allowed her to be leader of the group.

“This gives me a chance to go back to past experiences and relate to my students. They need to know that I did and will continue to perform with orchestras outside of the school,” Brewster said.

The Chamber Orchestra’s next concert and final performance of the season will be in Varner Hall on March 30. The concert will begin at 7 p.m.