The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Friday March 24th

College orchestra explores new ways to expand their connection with the greater campus community

(Photo courtesy of Uli Speth)
(Photo courtesy of Uli Speth)

By Tristan Weisenbach

The College’s orchestra is exploring new ways to better engage with the wider campus community by performing new genres of music, exploring the possibilities of collaborating with other ensembles and incorporating other types of performances throughout the year, according to Uli Speth, the conductor of the orchestra. 

Speth said his goal is to preserve the traditional style of a symphony orchestra, which has a heavy focus on classical and symphonic music selections, while also incorporating new, well-known pieces and genres into the programs.

“The mission of symphony orchestra is to play symphonic repertoire,” said Speth. “But it would be nice to play some famous pop or movie pieces as well.”

Creating a program that brings together a wider variety of music genres in concert programs, such as music from video games or well-known shows in addition to symphonic pieces by famous composers, would be a great way to engage with the community, he said.

Speth also said that he would be very interested in exploring the possibilities of working and collaborating with other music ensembles. 

“One will be to maybe collaborate with the local youth ballet company,” he said, opening the door to a potential combined performance with an ensemble outside of the immediate College campus community. 

Seeing the success of the recent performance of “Weather'' by the TCNJ choir and wind ensemble, Speth also said that he thinks that a similar collaboration involving orchestra would be an amazing experience.

The opportunity for the orchestra to have an off-campus performance is not off the table either, according to Speth. He hopes to receive invitations to perform in the greater Ewing community in the future.

The College orchestra was previously invited to perform at the War Memorial in Trenton at the beginning of 2020, but the pandemic unfortunately disrupted those plans. 

“I came pretty close to it at the beginning of the pandemic,” Speth said. “It has to be extremely carefully planned and executed. It involves a lot of commitment from a lot of sides.”

Speth also raised the idea of bringing in a guest artist to put together a large show or production — an idea that seemed to spark interest among a number of orchestra members.

“Bringing in a guest or soloist would be really cool,” said Amogh Gowda, a sophomore biology major who has been a member of orchestra for two years. “Anything or anyone that’s really striking or leaves a good impact on the audience.”

Jordan Valiquette, a sophomore sociology major who is in her second year with the orchestra, suggested another possibility of having student conductors for a select number of pieces.

“The bands and the choirs have done that before,” she said. 

Along with these possible future plans, the ideas of incorporating College dance groups into a performance or holding an outdoor concert event somewhere on campus are two additional opportunities that Speth hopes to explore.

The orchestra conductor also expressed his desire to better engage with people across the campus with these new endeavors. 

“I would love for our audiences to be bigger, for more TCNJ students and faculty to come to our concerts,” Speth said. “It should be fun. It should be entertaining.”


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