Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra performs in Spain

Renee Sogueco, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 19, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of Blanca Navarro

‘Doah photo courtesy of Blanca Navarro

On Mar. 6, cellist Sydney Vonada and the rest of the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra started spring break early. The entire group excitedly arrived in Spain for a four-stop tour. During the spring semester of 2013, the director, Jan Wagner, announced the upcoming spring tour for the group. Afterwards, the music ensemble tirelessly put together fundraisers in order to fund some of the trip. Some of the ticket sales of their concerts went towards the trip as well as some other non-related orchestra funding. According to Vonada, some private donors and bake sales provided financial support. While organized and quick, the flight over was filled with excitement and bits of trepidation for the upcoming concerts. The students participating enjoyed a layover in Brussels where they enjoyed shops and experienced using Euros.

The tour consisted of four stops: Madrid, Zaragoza, Murcia and Granada. Vonada’s favorite became Zaragoza. According to her, the Plaza was close to the hotel, which made for convenience. Some other aspects included the sights of the city. These included beautiful architectural buildings and structures left behind by various religious groups. In the center of the city, a “stunning” cathedral stood, and the students enjoyed their only day off in that particular city. Kiara Rubin, a violinist in SCSO, also favored Zaragoza because of the convenience; everything was within walking distance for sight seeing.

“I loved trying their different tapas, which is like little appetizers. The city is beautiful… I also enjoyed being able to experience going to different bars, shops and seeing the Spanish culture,” Rubin reminisced. “I would come back with friends, and I would have liked to see more of Madrid and also stay in each city a bit longer, like Castellan.”

The musicians fully took their day off as an opportunity to explore. When getting around the city, some students seemed to get by. For Vonada, she enlisted the help of her musician friends who spoke Spanish to get around. It seemed people in the country knew enough English to know what she had been trying to say. Mostly, it became a game of pointing fingers and saying “sí” more often than not, especially for Vonada who only had four years of German under her belt.

The venues in Spain, an interesting aspect, were developed differently so the sound came off as “magical.” Vonada further explains, “Only pictures could describe how beautiful they were, but the sound in each hall exploded. Never have I truly heard all of the orchestra before, but there, every bit could be heard and playing in those venues only made us tighter as an orchestra and as friends.”

During concerts, the SCSO played Alborada Del Gracioso by Ravel, Concerto Grosso Para Orquesta, Op. 5 by Tamberg and Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Rimsky-Korsakov. When asked about a favorite during performances, violinist Rubin seemed unable to pick just one. Instead, she opted for stating that she enjoyed performing all three pieces. The performances, in terms of how well they did, went well as the tour progressed. They started to breathe together as group and “grew as an orchestra,” according to Rubin. For Vonada, she believed it was the best she ever played thanks to the awe-inspiring venues. Fluent in Spanish, Director Jon Wagner also seemed to enjoy the experience overall. Because of tour, he seems to be already thinking of places to go later on for future members of the SCSO.


1 reply »

  1. Dear Doah,
    Please make sure to check the spelling before publishing. In this article, you guys managed to spell the conductor’s name wrong. It’s Jan, not Jon.

    – M


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