Civic Orchestra performs spring concert; conductor and students honored

The Civic Orchestra performed a concert under the baton of Damon Sink on April 30. Photo by Brandon Key.

On Sunday, April 30, sounds of classic music literature filled the halls of the recital hall of the Coulter building as the Western Carolina Civic Orchestra, conducted by WCU music professor Damon Sink, performed their spring concert.

Additionally, two WCU students, music majors Tyrone Kiaku and Ashton Parker, each performed a solo piece with the orchestra as the winners of the 2017 Western Carolina Civic Orchestra Concerto Competition.

The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra is sponsored by the WCU School of Music and the Jackson Arts Council. The ensemble consists of WCU students and faculty, as well as community members of all ages from several counties.

The concert began with the two competition winners performing their solo pieces “Concerto in E-flat major for trumpet and string orchestra” by Johann Baptist Georg Neruda and “Concertino in E-flat major, Op. 26 for clarinet and orchestra” by Carl Maria von Weber, as listed in the concert program.

To start off the concert on the right note, Kiaku and Parker took the stage with the orchestra to play their solos with the performers.

“Performing with the Western Carolina Civic Orchestra has been one of the most rewarding things I have had the chance to be a part of here at Western,” said Kiaku. “Getting the chance to take part in the showcase of talent displayed tonight, between the 96-year-old playing in the strings section and the other extremely talented Ashton Parker, is still amazing to me.”

Gayle Woody of the Jackson Arts Council presented awards to Ashton Parker and Tyrone Kiaku during the concert. Photo by Brandon Key.

Gayle Woody, president of the Jackson Arts Council, came onstage after their pieces and awarded Kiaku and Parker their awards, saying “the goal of the Jackson Arts Council is to support the great arts and artists, like these two performers, for Jackson County.”

Following the solo performances was a piece called “Petite Suite” by Claude Debussy, which featured multiple movements.

An intermission followed and then the concert continued with “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar.

The evening of music concluded with “Symphony No. 5, Op. 107” by Felix Mendelssohn.

Performing with many different musicians from across the country was a learning experience for the WCU students in the orchestra.

“It’s heartwarming to see such a variety of players in the orchestra. Seeing older people still wanting to perform music is great. It’s also a good way to get to play orchestral works, which helps me as a musician, too,” said horn player and WCU music student Parker Walrod.

After the concert, a reception was held in the lobby of the recital hall to honor longtime conductor of the Civic Orchestra and musician, William Henigbaum.

For more information on the Jackson Arts Council and the Civic Orchestra, visit their website.