Last Sunday, January 12, a small group of students in the Oyster River High School orchestra program gave a performance with the help of Andrea Von Oeyen, their teacher. It took place at the Wentworth Greenhouse in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. This gave the students an opportunity to show their skills in a more intimate setting, showcasing a select few performers and a smaller audience. The audience was mostly made up of parents of the students who were performing and some pleasantly surprised shoppers.
The show had two acts. the first act was a duet with Natalie Eddy (20’) playing flute and Leah Zamansky (20’) playing clarinet. They played a classic piece called Sonata 1 by Mozart and followed it with Divertissement 2 by Leroy Ostransky.
The second act was a quartet performed by Iris Ingelfinger (21’), Madeleine Triff (20’), Chase Amarosa (21’), and Aidan Janetos (21’). They played the second half of Shostakovich’s 8th quartet, a long and challenging piece.
“We all auditioned for a solo part for each of our instruments in a full group piece, and when we each got the part for our instrument and practiced together Ms.Von Oeyen thought we sounded good playing together. She recommended that we start playing together and so she gave us the Shostakovich to play,” said Janetos on how the students began to play together.
The performance was given in a greenhouse, which although an unconventional choice, was one that was enjoyed, “They played here for a volunteer [performance] for their open house and they enjoyed the atmosphere so much that we decided to ask if we could kind of on a whim [perform] here and they said yes,” said Von Oeyen. “It’s a nice location and plants and waterfalls are very calming.”
Janetos said of the location, “The only thing that could have been better was that because we were in a greenhouse, the air was very humid which made it a little harder for my fingers to slide across the fingerboard but other than that, everything was great.”
The preparation for the performance was a long process that took place over several months. “The Shostakovich was really challenging. It’s a pretty long piece so we had to focus the entire time and learn not just our own parts but each other’s as well to stay together. For me personally there were a few parts that needed to be played in a higher register than I have ever played before. They took awhile to learn but I think they sounded okay come concert time,” said Janetos.
The performance was originally going to be for Mouth of the River’s Coffee House at the end of the first quarter, but they decided to make it an event to showcase what they had been working on for an end of semester performance. “Chase [Amarosa] came to us and asked if we wanted to play in coffee house as a quartet. So we went to Ms.Von Oeyen and asked her to give us something we could play for that event and she gave us that piece. We didn’t end up playing that piece in Coffee House though because we didn’t have enough time to prepare it. Ms.Von Oeyen organized the recital mainly so we could show off our hard-work,” said Ingelfinger.
Holding off and performing it once they had more practice paid off. With more time they delivered a performance that Von Oeyen was proud of. “I think it went wonderfully. I’m very, very pleased with how they did. They put so much of themselves into it and so much extra work went into that. They really did a fantastic job.”
Soon after they played at the greenhouse, the whole program gave a performance on January 14th showcasing a variety of pieces and the student body orchestra’s talent as a whole program.