String orchestra participates in conference

The Murray State string orchestra performs “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. || Photo courtesy of Sue-Jean Park
The Murray State string orchestra performs “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. || Photo courtesy of Sue-Jean Park

The Murray State string orchestra performs “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. || Photo courtesy of Sue-Jean Park

The Murray State music program has many groups who perform for the campus and community. One of these groups, the Murray State String Chamber Orchestra, was selected to perform at the Kentucky Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference today in Louisville, Ky.

The KMEA Professional Development Conference is for music teachers pre-school through college level and students participating in all-state bands, choruses and orchestras. Those who attend the conference can participate in sessions, hear performances and browse exhibits which display the vast array of resources for music teachers.

“I applied the last six years to perform,” said Sue-Jean Park, assistant professor of violin and viola and leader of the String Chamber Orchestra. “I was very honored to be selected.”

The orchestra left for the conference on Tuesday, although the official conference began on Wednesday evening with performers registering and rehearsing. They will be performing today at 4:55 p.m.

The String Chamber Orchestra will perform “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. Park will be the featured soloist.

The program is constructed of four concert numbers, each representing a season. They are titled “La Primavera” (Spring), “L’estate” (Summer), “L’autunno” (Autumn) and “L’inverno” (Winter).

The Murray State String Chamber Orchestra was established in spring of 2007, one year after Park started teaching at Murray State. The group is currently composed of 11 members, each in categories by their instruments.

Violinists include Rachel Brown, Jaeyoun Cho, Kelsey Booth, Brittany Young, Amber Wade and Peter Ney. John Perdue is the only violist. Colton Burge plays double bass and Brett Chrittenden plays keyboard. Celloists are Jinhee Han and Megan Rosbury.

“There is no limited number for orchestra,” Park said. “I select advanced students from the University orchestra, so every year we have a different number.”

This ensemble meets on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and typically only performs once a year in the Performing Arts Hall located in the Doyle Fine Arts building.

Their acceptance into the KMEA conference allows them to showcase the talent the String Chamber Orchestra possesses.

The string program at Murray State features various opportunities to study including private lessons, symphony orchestra, string chamber orchestra, chamber groups and string pedagogy.

“It is a great chance to advertise the Murray State string program,” Park said. “It is also a very rare opportunity that 100 percent of the audience will be music majors, music students or teachers.”

Pamela Wurgler, chair of the department of music, agrees. She believes performing at the conference promotes Murray State’s program in all areas of music.

“Our appearance at KMEA lets the music teachers in Kentucky know that Murray State has a dynamic string program with many performance opportunities,” Wurgler said. “It tells these teachers that Murray State is a good place to come to study music – not just band and choir, but also orchestra.”

The performance also pushes the orchestra and string program to better itself because they are representing Murray State as a whole, according to Wurgler.

Said Wurgler: “A conference appearance for any ensemble means that students and their director work extra hard to polish a program that will be recorded. A program like this pushes them to be the best they can possibly be.  The rewards came first, by being selected to perform, and later in being recognized by the audience.”

Story by Hunter Harrell, Staff writer.