On Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra will present an afternoon of well-loved music open to the Mercyhurst community.
They will perform Sibelius’s Finlandia, collaborating with the Erie Junior Philharmonic; Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor with Nathan Hess, D.M.A., chair of the D’Angelo Department of Music as the soloist and Holst’s The Planets, with the Mercyhurst University Women’s Chorus being featured in the final movement.
When asked why he chose these selections, Music Director Jonathan Moser said he wanted to collaborate with Hess and that the piece fit well with Finlandia.
He said he also wanted to work with Mercyhurst choir director Thomas Brooks and the women’s chorus.
Finlandia will be a collaboration between the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra and the Erie Junior Philharmonic, of which Moser became the director of last year.
Hess said that it has been four years since his last solo performance with the Mercyhurst Orchestra.
He performed the first movement of the Grieg piece with the Erie Philharmonic in September.
“I prepare(d) the same way (for this performance as for his last at MU) but it has been more challenging at times because of my chair responsibilities,” Hess said.
When asked his favorite thing about performing this piece, Hess said, “My favorite thing is being onstage with all the musicians and playing such beautiful music. You don’t get to perform that often because the opportunity doesn’t come along that often.”
Hess had never played the Grieg before this year, and he started learning it in the summer after Moser asked him to perform it in this concert.
It has been a piece he has been wanting to learn for a while, and he is thrilled to be playing the piece.
The Planets is another popular piece on the program.
It takes the name of each of its movements from one of the planets.
Listeners will likely recognize the influence this piece has had on the scores of Star Wars and Star Trek.
There will be atmospheric lighting during the performance of the Planets.
Jenny Sabliov, a graduate student in the violin ii section, says, “The repertoire in the program is gorgeous.”
“The pieces are difficult because they so intricately weave each section of the orchestra together, which is what makes them beautiful,” Sabliov said.
She is especially excited about the Grieg, a piece she has loved for a while.
Tickets are $5 for the general public and $2 for Mercyhurst staff and students and those 12 and under.
This is a show you don’t want to miss.