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Two Rivers orchestra presents final concert of season

By Staff | May 25, 2018

The Friends of Music’s Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra presented its final concert of the 2017 to 2018 season, “Czech It Out!,” at Trinity Episcopal Church on Saturday evening.

The concert featured two pieces by Czech composers – Mladi Suite for Wind Instruments by Leos Janacek and Serenade for Winds in D minor, Op. 44, by Antonin Dvorak – along with Petite Symphonie, Op. 216, by French composer Charles Gounod.

Jed Gaylin, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra’s music director, spent hundreds of hours studying each piece prior to the concert. He was previously familiar with the Janacek and Dvorak pieces, and decided adding the Gounod piece would provide a nice contrast to the other works.

“So much that we do with the orchestra is string-based, and I wanted to do something with winds,” Gaylin said. “Dvorak is the staple of that repertoire, and then I decided, why not stay in the Czech vein?

“Gounod’s piece was a piece I never had done, so I thought it would be a nice way to open before we got to more of the exotic stuff,” he added. “As you take the romanticism of the Gounod, and you take the quirky music of Janacek, then after the intermission the music of Dvorak, you have three pieces really playing off one another.”

Solely using the orchestra’s 10 woodwind instrumentalists, along with its principal cellist and bassist, not only cut down on concert costs, but also gave the woodwinds a chance to shine.

“It’s not usual for us to do a prominently wind program. The winds really appreciated this opportunity to be showcased,” Gaylin said, mentioning the Mladi Suite featured one unique wind instrument, a bass clarinet.

During the intermission, FOM board member Andrew McMillan awarded $500 scholarship checks to graduating Martinsburg High School seniors Allyson Hager and Shelby Ward and graduating Hedgesville High School senior Dalton Kendig, who were all nominated for the scholarships by their school faculty.

In the fall, Hager will be majoring in music education at West Liberty University, Ward will be majoring in vocal performance at WVU and Kendig will be majoring in music education at WVU.

“Our continued success depends on many factors . . . our board members and your support and donations,” said FOM President Linda Walker. “As one season is ending, the Friends of Music board is planning its next season.”

Walker announced FOM’s anniversary concert next season will feature guest conductor D. Mark McCoy, FOM founding music director and former chair of Shepherd University’s Department of Music. McCoy will be directing one of Mozart’s works.

After the concert, Gaylin said he was glad to hear concertgoers discussing how all three pieces touched them in different ways.

“I want the audience to have some kind of experience. I’d like to think someone comes into the concert with one perspective on life and leaves with a different perspective on life,” he said. “Music should not just be a pastime. It should change how you see the world, and if it’s really great music, you do.”