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Community Harmony

Hanover College Madison Area
Orchestra to perform free series

Students and residents
join to share love of music

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(November 2011) – For more than 25 years members of the Hanover College music program and area residents have been combining their talents to create not only live music but also a sense of community and belonging among local musicians. Each week about 15 Hanover College students and 15 community members meet to perfect their sound for upcoming performances, and just as importantly, enjoy the thrill of making music with other dedicated performers.
In the words of director Dr. David Mruzek, the Hanover College Madison Area Orchestra “Strengthens the bond between the campus and the community.”
While auditions are held for the orchestra, Mruzek is quick to highlight the fact “the main focus is on participation.” Though some members have been performing with the group since its inception, others are students in junior high school who are still perfecting their talents.

Mruzek

Mruzek

And while Hanover College students earn credit for playing in the group, many are not music majors. A common love and dedication to music brings together players who might not otherwise have the chance to meet.
“They enjoy getting to know each other,” reflects Mruzek, “I think they relate well to each other.”
The 2011-2012 Hanover College Madison Area Orchestra concert series begins Nov. 19 with a performance at 7:30 p.m.. The program is presented in the Lynn Center for Fine Arts at Hanover College with free admission.
The November concert will include music ranging from Mozart’s famed “Abduction from the Seraglio” to the beloved Irish folk classic “Danny Boy.” The audience will also enjoy “Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra” by Luigi Boccherini featuring a flute solo by Hanover College Junior Kimberley Fong. Additional performances will take place in February and in April the group will be joined by popular pianist Dr. Kimm Hollis, who will present what is certain to be a memorable rendition of the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21.
Mruzek invites area residents to come out and enjoy and evening of music and notes that this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the talents of your neighbors. The director says with a smile, “there are a lot of community people in the group—you’re bound to know someone.”
Mruzek explains that in selecting the music for the concerts he looks to have variety in the works presented. He also seeks “to strike a balance between educating the audience and entertaining them.”
Research for upcoming performances begins in the Hanover College Music Department library. “The first thing I do is go through the printed music on hand,” he explains.
He also spends time listening to audio recording of prospective pieces and he reports that some of his research is conducted online. He seeks out a variety of audio clips gets an idea of the difficulty level of the different works. This careful process allows the professor to find pieces that will provide an interesting evening of music for the audience and best match the strengths of the current years’ crop of musicians.
Rob Houze, owner of Crawdaddy Music in Madison, is one performer who has been with the orchestra since the very beginning. He believes that the community is very fortunate to have such a group and points out that otherwise music lovers would have to travel to Louisville or Columbus to play or enjoy similar performances.
The bass player says that, “It’s a nice thing to have. It’s an opportunity to play the classics.” Houze explains that by encouraging musicians from the college and the community to come together, the HCMA orchestra is able to pull from a larger selection of players. This wider pool makes it possible to bring together a more diverse group of talent as “sometimes the college may not totally fill out the sections,” says Houze.
Not only does the orchestra draw performers from the area community, but the group also looks to area residents for support offstage. The Orchestra Guild formed last May and provides essential backstage help ranging from designing and distributing programs to organizing light refreshments after the concerts.
In addition to ongoing assistance given by these dedicated volunteers, the orchestra also benefits from the community’s donations of instruments to the music program. Many people have instruments that have been out of the spotlight for several years, and the Hanover College music program has students eager to make them sing again.
As an educator, Mruzek said he is proud of the way the orchestra allows students a chance to improve their abilities and explore both traditional and recent orchestral compositions. He also sees the hours that the players spend together during practice and performance as a way for new Hanover students to make a connection to their college and community. The orchestra “gives the students a feeling of home,” Mruzek says.

• For information on getting involved with the Hanover College Madison Area Orchestra, contact Dr. David Mruzek at mruzek@hanover.edu or visit: www.hanover.edu/learning/academic/music/instrumental.php.

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