SMCC Out and About: The Portland Symphony Orchestra



By Yesenia Moguel

As college students at SMCC, there are so many fun resources at our fingertips, whether that is on campus with our awesome activities committee, on our beautiful Willard Beach, or in the culture-rich cities of Portland and South Portland.

Involvement in community has always been a major part of my own experience at college. It is fun to work hard and concentrate on my college education, but it is also good to go out and explore the neat places around us that we never notice.

My violin instructor is second stand in Portland Symphony Orchestra. I went to hear Beethoven’s Symphony No.9  at Merrill Auditorium on April 25, attending the second of two sold-out performances with my roommate.

The evening’s program started with Robert Moody, the orchestra’s music director, welcoming the audience to the evening’s performance He mentioned that that evening’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth would be the last in a series of Beethoven symphonies that the Portland Symphony Orchestra started three years ago.

It is interesting to note that while we call Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 as the “Ode to Joy” symphony, Beethoven referred to the piece as the “Chorale Symphony,” mainly because it is the only symphony in which Beethoven used a chorus. In the words of Robert Moody, the Ninth was “a groundbreaking moment at the time. A symphony with chorus as the finale.”

Beethoven’s Ninth has been used over the course of its 200-year history to celebrate the end of war. It was played extensively at the end of World War I and World War II, and Leonard Bernstein brought together East and West German orchestral performers to perform it after the Berlin wall fell.

The evening’s performance started off with the orchestra playing Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” a solemn 11-minute piece that is “heart-achingly beautiful,” as described by Moody.

I was engulfed in the rich tones and emotional energy of the music, listened in awe to the soloists and enjoyed the expressions on the face of the concert-master. After the concert, we enjoyed a Q&A with the performers and listened to their thoughts and stories.

If you were not able to make the April 25 concert and want to hear the Ninth as performed by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Choral Arts Society and the Oratorio Chorale, tune into Maine Public Broadcasting (MPBN) on May 10 at 8 p.m.

I would recommend visiting Portland Symphony Orchestra to anyone. Expand your horizons and indulge in the enriching culture of music. The beautiful chords and melodies still resonate with me now.


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