Scenes from a visit by Lehigh University Orchestra director Eugene Albulescu at Broughal Middle School
November 22, 2011 –
(written by Lynn Farley)
That’s what 25 members of Broughal Middle School’s orchestra did this morning when Lehigh University Music Director Eugene Albulescu held a clinic at their school. His first question, “Do you like to play scales?” The ensuing half-groan, half-ok answer you’d expect from any budding musician was followed by studious bow strokes as Albulescu meticulously went through each section of violins, violas and cellos to help them find proper Cs, Es, and finally that elusive D. “There you go! The cellos found the D!” exclaimed the maestro and the group broke into smiles and laughter.
He met the dedicated, slightly sleepy musicians a little after 7:00 AM this morning as they waited on the sidewalk with instruments in hand to be let inside their school on Vine Street for morning rehearsal –a full hour before the first bell of classes. Broughal’s Band Director Maryann Gross sought Albulescu’s expertise to explain how an orchestra should play together, “It’s important for the students to learn how to play as a group. We are thrilled to have a professional like Eugene come to the school and teach them.”
“The whole point about playing in an orchestra is that we’re all trying to find common ground. It’s about how we’re going to do things together,” explained Albulescu to the 6th, 7th and 8th graders as they prepared to play Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand. Then the Broughal Middle School string section was put through their paces musically and academically. Their guest conductor peppered the stanzas with anecdotes about tuning, little known Beethoven facts, the Pythagorean theorem and orchestral seating arrangements. As the hour came to a close, Albulescu reminded them that orchestras are like a field of grain when the wind blows through, “you all have to be moving the same way.”
With that advice, first bell rang, applause followed and violinist/bassoonist/aspiring Liberty High School bagpipe player Wyatt Evans Walker offered this assessment of rehearsal, “It was awesome!”
The Lehigh University Music Department’s community partnership with Broughal Middle School provides opportunities for young musicians to attend concerts at Zoellner Arts Center, participate in clinics, and receive mentoring from faculty, students and Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity members at no cost. Eugene Albulescu conducts the LU Philharmonic’s Nutcracker & Winter Fun concert on Friday, December 9 at 8 pm and Saturday, December 10 at 3 pm. Click here for more concert details.