A new string orchestra coming this fall will help attract new students and community musicians to Brock University’s Department of Music.
For the first time in its 47-year history, the Department of Music will offer String Orchestra as part of its ensemble bank starting in September. The addition will make the Department’s programs more appealing to potential students, as it brings a much stronger string presence to its activities.
“We have been trying to attract quality string students to the Department, and our lack of in-house orchestra has definitely been a detriment,” says Department of Music Chair Karin Di Bella.
The string group will be added to the existing ensemble roster of the Brock University Choirs, and the Brock University Wind Ensemble.
The String Orchestra has been developed to serve two key needs: filling a need in the Department’s curriculum; and providing a place for community string players to share their talents.
“We have appreciated a partnership with the Niagara Symphony Youth Orchestra and the community-based Mercredi Musique in the past, but incoming students really want their ensemble experience to be housed at the University,” says Di Bella.
Based on the successful model of the Wind Ensemble, the String Orchestra will work as a partnership between the Department and the community, welcoming community members to the group to fill out the numbers needed for the ensemble to be viable.
Mercredi Musique is a key partner in the development of this new ensemble. Following the loss of their long-time music director Paul Van Dongen, the group ceased activity at the end of the 2015-16 season.
“We are enthusiastic in our support of this endeavour. It’s an ideal direction for both the community and the University,” says Chris Thorne, former concertmaster of Mercredi Musique.
Community string players are welcome to audition for the new Brock University String Orchestra. Auditions will be held this summer, with information posted on the Department website in the coming months. Auditions for an ensemble conductor will also be held. Any string specialists interested in applying for the conductor position should check Brock’s Human Resources listings, and let the Department know of their interest.
The String Orchestra will rehearse during the academic year from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.