Without fanfare, Brian Norcross, Franklin & Marshall College’s senior director of instrumental music and conducting studies, presented a performance of various orchestral arrangements conducted by students for the April 25 Common Hour, the last of the 2018-19 academic year.
An encore performance of the 28th annual Conductors Concert, held April 17 in the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts, the concerts follow months of study and practice. Only a few months ago, the students had no experience conducting, a feat of sorts, considering they directed pieces from major symphonies, Norcross said.
“I’d like to introduce your F&M Orchestra and your F&M Symphonic Wind Ensemble,” he said as he stood before the musicians, seated with their instruments in Mayser Gym. “They will be led by students from my conducting class.”
At Franklin & Marshall, students are not required to major in music to perform or conduct. Just a handful of students in the orchestra and wind ensemble raised their hand when Norcross asked how many were music majors.
“I think it is of interest, if not amazing, that we have three students who have gone through this program who have gone on to earn doctorates in conducting, a couple more are conducting ensembles, and several are or have been music teachers,” he said later.
Norcross introduced the first of 15 student conductors, senior Parker Neathery directing the orchestra in a piece of the 2nd Movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (“Titan”), and stepped back for the audience to enjoy lively and eclectic arrangements.
View some of the Common Hour concert highlights: