A classic, Beethoven’s No. 9 Symphony brought the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, Choral Union and professional, alumni soloists together for one performance in mid-November.
“We usually have that one piece a year that everyone starts hating at first, and then overtime you start humming it,” said Ethan Cates, philosophy major and tenor in the union. “It’s really weird having both concert choir and choral union, plus having symphony orchestra all on the same stage at once.”
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point invited alumni to perform solos during the piece. Soloists included Mary Southworth, soprano 1992 graduate and adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Holly Janz, mezzo-soprano 1993 graduate and associate professor at Concordia College; and Scott Ramsay, tenor from 1996 and now a professional singer. Jacob Lassetter, bass assistant professor of music at Luther College, also performed.
The orchestra was led by music professor Patrick Miles, conductor of the ensemble and director of orchestral activities. Lucinda Thayer, professor of music and director of choral activities, led the choirs.
“When we first received this piece, everyone in symphony I knew could not stop talking about how Beethoven No. 9 is the biggest and one of the hardest pieces they’ve worked on, and I had to agree with them,” said Gradon White, music education major and cellist. “Not just because there are over 150 people on stage at once but also the fact that it’s long enough to have only it on one show. Everyone has been working so hard; every time I go to practice I hear at least one or two people practicing Beethoven in the rooms surrounding mine, compared to every now and then with other symphonic works we’ve done. It’s a huge privilege to be a part of something so massive and brilliant. I get chills every time we rehearse it, especially when we rehearse with the chorus.”
The event was part of the Music Department Scholarship Series and was sold out early on.
“I got the chills when the choir started to sing,” said Ji Sung Kim, communication major who watched the performance. “My favorite instrument was the bass. The way the bassist expressed himself through his instrument was so passionate. It felt like he owned the stage.”