On March 17, the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra performed their third annual Concert of Soloists under the direction of Jonathan Moser.
This yearly concert features the winners of the orchestra’s Concerto/Aria Competition, which allows students from Mercyhurst as well as high school students who participate in music programs at Mercyhurst to compete for the opportunity to perform with the orchestra.
The concert’s first piece was Camille Saint-Saёns’ Introduction et rondo capriccioso, Op. 28.
This concerto featured violin soloist Hannah Byard, a homeschooled high school senior in her fourth year of playing with the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra.
Despite her young age compared to the majority of the orchestra, Byard left the audience in awe of her talent as she artfully displayed her mastery of Saint-Saёns’ soaring, intricate melodies.
She reappeared in the second half of the performance as the concertmaster.
The next two pieces performed in the first half by the competition winners were Mozart’s “S’altro che lagrime” from the opera La Clemenza di Tito and “Der Hölle Rache” from Die Zauberflöte.
Both arias featured guest soloist soprano Maria Dombrowski.
Dombrowski is a Mercyhurst senior majoring in Creative Writing for Entertainment, with a concentration in vocal performance and creative writing.
She made her operatic debut in her sophomore year.
Dombrowski flawlessly performed two of Mozart’s most well-known and stunning arias.
Following a brief intermission, the orchestra returned to perform the entirety of Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No.3, Op.52.
The work’s three movements allowed the winds and brass to take the spotlight.
This piece brought the audience on a journey through Sibelius’ major patriotic statement, which was at times dark and ominous and at other times light and propitious.
The half-hour symphony was a fitting conclusion to the concert, with the final lines of the third movement turning to a grandiose fanfare.