The Goshen College music department will host the 52nd annual Concerto-Aria Competition Concert on Saturday in Sauder Hall at 7:30 p.m. Winners of the competition will perform with the GC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Fashun. The orchestra will also perform an opening overture and closing finale.
Competition winners include Martin Brubaker, a senior baritone; Lisa Horst, a senior pianist; Stephanie Hollenberg, a senior soprano; Levi Smucker, a junior composer; Elspeth Stalter, a senior violinist; and Justin Yoder, a junior cellist.
Most of the musicians will perform solos, but some will perform in small ensembles.
Stalter and Yoder will play together as competition veterans. Two years ago and last year, Stalter and Yoder performed as soloists, respectively. This year, the duo will play a Brahms piece. Smucker will perform his own composition for mixed ensemble and orchestra on cello and will be joined by Ben Breckbill, a junior pianist and Stalter on violin.
A process including an application and audition lead to the culmination of the actual Concert-Aria Competition performance.
Before auditioning, students consult with their private teachers for consent to audition and then begin to prepare a piece for audition once they have the approval of their teacher.
“I have been working on the Saint-Saens Concerto for a year and a half,” said Horst.
Participants compete in different categories including solo vocal, solo instrumental, solo piano, ensemble and original composition.
Auditions took place in November in Sauder Hall in front of the music faculty. Winners were announced before Spring semester.
Smucker admits that “it’s really been an interesting process.” As a composer, he has made many adjustments to the musical score since his audition. “It’s a living, breathing thing. I’m writing new stuff up until the performance.”
“Someone is taking [my piece] and putting their own spin on it,” Smucker said. “It needs to be that way.”
A few of the performers admit to being nervous for Saturday, but nerves are not their only feelings. “It’s a really ambitions program,” said Yoder, “a great opportunity.”
Reflecting on previous concerts, the Concerto-Aria Competition Concert is Hollenberg’s “favorite concert of the year, hands down.” “It draws a broader audience,” she said. “It’s like one giant fan mob.”
“The orchestra has done a remarkable job preparing for it,” said Yoder. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
By Quinn Brenneke