Seven students will be performing individual arias and concertos with the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra in the 56th annual Concerto Aria concert. The concert will take place on Saturday, February 6 in Sauder Concert Hall.

The Concerto Aria is an opportunity to showcase the musical talent at Goshen College. In the fall, the music department auditioned students in front of a panel of faculty, who then chose the winners based on the quality of their performances.

Vince Kurtz, a junior music and physics double major, said, “Audition situations are always a bit odd, because you only play for a few people, they might cut you off and no one claps when you’re done. There are always some nerves. There were a ton of good musicians auditioning, and I’m really honored to have been chosen to perform in this concert.”

In addition to Kurtz, other winners from the audition that will be showcased in the 56th Concerto Aria concert include Mikhail Fernandes, a senior, on the euphonium; Martin Flowers, a senior, singing tenor; Peter Paetkau a junior, playing violin; Wade Troyer, a junior, playing piano; Paul Zehr, a senior, on the baritone, and Jacob Zehr, a sophomore, singing tenor.

The GC Symphony Orchestra, directed by Jose Rocha, associate professor of music, will accompany each soloist.

Kurtz said, “Adding a full orchestra gives the whole piece a new dimension of depth and color. You can hear much more easily what the composer wanted the music to sound like. Working with the orchestra and our conductor, Jose Rocha, has been a blast.”

In addition to conducting the GC Symphony Orchestra, Rocha has taught and directed middle school and high school orchestras for the past 15 years, and has conducted and performed with Ray Price, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Ray Charles among many others.

The concerto is generally a chance for the soloists to show off their skills with the orchestra serving as accompaniment. Kurtz said, “Originally, a concerto was a meant as a sort of fight between the orchestra and the soloist—each section has independent musical parts that work with or against each other.”

Although concertos or arias are opportunities for the soloist to flourish, they are also physically demanding and require extensive preparation.

When asked how much time goes into preparation for a concerto, Fernandes said, “It can range between a couple of months to a year—it really just depends on your instrument proficiency.”

The audience can expect to see a wide range of both instrument and musical selections. Performances will include selections from a variety of composers, including Gilbert and Sullivan, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

Performances will include singing, violin, piano, and for one of the first times, the euphonium. The euphonium is a brass instrument that Fernandes hopes will set the concert apart from previous years.

Fernandes said, “We have put a lot of effort into this concert to make it happen. We would love to get a full house at Sauder this Saturday. This is probably one of the first times a euphonium player and international student has been selected to perform.”

The concert will be begin at 7:30 p.m. in Sauder Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. Tickets and any additional information are available online or the door before the concert.

Goshen College faculty, staff and students receive free admission with a college ID.