The Knox County Symphony (KCS) performed an extraordinary winter concert at Rosse Hall on Saturday. The concert was conducted under the baton of Professor of Music Ben Locke.
The concert was an amazing experience that showcased many talented artists. It featured winners of the Young Musicians Competition that takes place annually, and has three different divisions. Both the junior and senior divisions are non-competitive, with the exception of the third, which is called the concerto division. Students in grades 3-12 as well as the competitors from the junior and senior divisions have an opportunity to receive feedback from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
KCS was created in 1965. Affiliated Scholar in Music Magic McBride, who has been the president of the KCS for 14 years, expressed the three goals of the Symphony. “The first purpose was to provide a training ground for young musicians of high school and college, to provide a performance outlet for community musicians and to provide musical fare that was both educational and entertaining for Knox County audiences,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. The KCS performed many pieces, including “The Empire Strikes Back Medley” by John Williams arranged by John C. Whitney, Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1” and “Pirates of the Caribbean Medley,” composed by Klaus Badlet and arranged by Ted Ricketts.
When listening to the soloists play their songs, I was captivated by the sheer amount of talent that I was witnessing. Many of the musicians have dedicated a large amount of their time to perfecting their craft, a feat made more impressive by their relatively young ages. McBride expressed how much she enjoys the KCS winter concerts. “This concert is always my favorite, because it gives young musicians of college and high school age the extraordinary opportunity to perform as soloists with a symphony orchestra,” she said.
One of the concerto winners at the concert was Brookie Wilkens ’23, who won second place in the collegiate division. Wilkens performed the piece “Fantasie for Flute and orchestra” by Georges Hüe. Wilkens was extremely satisfied with her performance and practiced for months. “I’m very happy with how the performance went,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Many of the issue spots that I’d been working on went beautifully, and I felt like I was having fun rather than freaking out, which is hard to do when performance anxiety is in the mix!”
Wilkens also expressed how grateful she was to all those who came to the performance and praised the other soloists for their performances. “I’m grateful to my flute instructor, Jenny Packard, who played in the concert as well, has helped me become a better musician and encouraged me to compete in the first place,” she said.
McBride commented on how impactful the symphony is to the local Knox Community. “The Symphony has earned a central place in the cultural life of the community and maintains as its mission, the fostering of classical music-making by and for our residents. Now in its 57th consecutive season, the prowess of the orchestra has steadily improved over time,” she said. The amazing concert wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the musicians, and it was an honor being able to attend the show.
The Symphony’s last concert of the season is their spring concert, which will feature Adjunct Instructor of Piano and Piano Coordinator John Reitz, who in his ninth appearance with the orchestra will perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83. The concert will be on April 30 in Rosse Hall.
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