Arts & Entertainment

KU Orchestra First Performance Since COVID-19

By Nichole Schleihauf
Arts & Entertainment Editor

KU’s orchestra performed for the first time since before the pandemic on Oct. 07, 2021. This past Thursday’s performance was dedicated to Dr. Ina Grapenthin and Dr. Tucilla Sabatino, two recently retired members of KU’s music department. Conductor Peter Isaacson said a few words before the performance to emphasize their impact and inform audience members who may not know them.

 “Their legacy, dedication, and contributions to this music department have really just been monumental and we miss their presence here every day,” said Isaacson. 

Dr. Grapenthin served the music department for forty-two years as the professor of organ and had been deeply involved in the program. She’s also a published author. Dr. Sabatino was the voice professor for twenty-six years and tirelessly supported the student body.

The performance itself opened with Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No.1, Op. 46 in C major which roused the audience and set the tone for the evening. Changing from a soft and calm tempo to abruptly crescendo into forte came as an exciting shock that could be felt through the whole body.

The proceeding pieces were more romantic in nature, transporting the audience into 1950’s Paris. While the brass players aided the joyful themes, the strings swept in to provide melancholy feelings seamlessly. 

Lynnette Chambers offered her spectacular voice as a mezzo-soprano for the evening. She sang Songs of a Wayfarer, a German song cycle split up into four parts: “When My Love Has Her Wedding Day,” “I Walked Across The Fields This Morning,” “I’ve A Gleaming Knife,” and “The Two Blue Eyes”. As the titles suggest, it tells a tragic love story.

Along with the magnificent accompaniment, Chambers’ expressions delivered the story and true emotion better than words could. Even for audience members who don’t know German, the performance was so deeply moving on its own.

Conrad Smith joined on organ and provided a soulful rendition of Bach’s Trio Sonata No. 3. 

The performance of Cortege et Litanie Op. 19, No. 2 was a gripping finale that the audience won’t forget. All members of the orchestra came together and left the Schaeffer Auditorium breathless and amazed at their comeback.

Upcoming events for the music department include Music Monday on Oct. 18, and the percussion ensemble will have a concert on Oct. 19.