GSO’s last concert remembers and creates memories

GSO's last concert remembers and creates memories

Neda Abbaszadeh

HONORED PERFORMANCE: Performing at their last concert of the year, the GSO honored veterans through performances such as “Armed Forces Salute.” The GSO closed off their season on March 25 with this concert after practicing for three months.

Aakash Bhojwani, staff reporter

After weeks of rehearsing, members of the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra (GSO) took the stage for their annual spring concert on March 25. This was GSO’s final concert of the year and, according to GSOmembers, the concert wrapped up a successful year.

According to Aaron Kaplan, assistant GSO conductor, students in orchestra class began practicing the music for this concert in January and there were about eight or nine Wednesday night rehearsals with the full orchestra. Kaplan said that one thing the orchestra worked on for the concert was playing their music with emotion.

“We focus on how to not read notes on a page, but how to create that into music,” Kaplan said. “There is an emotional connection to what they are playing and not just reading black dots on a page.”

At the concert, GSO performed multiple American themed pieces, and veterans that were in attendance were honored by the orchestra and audience. During the orchestra’s performance of the Armed Forces Salute,” written by Robert Lowdenveterans stood up and were applauded when the song of their branch of the Armed Forces was played. According to Ben Gamze, GSO violinist and pianist, honoring veterans was special.

“What made this concert special was the appreciation for U.S. veterans at the end of the second half,” Gamze said. “The orchestra had never done anything like that. It was very unique, and it went very well.”

Daniel Chung, a sophomore at South and GSO cellist, also agreed that performing music for veterans was meaningful.

“The [veterans] were […] able to keep their pride and stood up,” Chung said. “I think their memories were really significant.”

In addition to patriotic music, GSO also performed three concertos at the concert. One soloist led each concerto performance. According to Kaplan, the three soloists were chosen after different judges around the country listened to recordings of contestants and selected winners.

“We are so lucky at the Glenbrooks to have such talented soloists,” Kaplan said. “Soloists every year are something that I always remember because they perform at such a high level.”

Gamze was the piano soloist during the orchestra’s performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s piece, “Piano Concerto NO. 3 in C Major.”

“I’ll remember sitting in front of the orchestra, leading my peers, and sharing the love of music with everyone listening and performing,” Gamze said.

Lydia Lutz, South senior and GSO violinist, said that performers had to work extra hard to play the concertos that were played at the concert.

“The concertos were definitely challenging, and we had to step up to play those because they were just really, really hard,” Lutz said. “Especially the Prokofiev for the violins was sort of a beast. We got the music later than we got a lot of our other music, so you had to do a lot of work by yourself to learn it, so we have improved in our work ethic.”

After finishing their last concert, Kaplan said that although this year went well, GSO did face challenges. Since September, GSO Conductor Kristin Meyer has been on medical leave after being involved in a plane crash. Kaplan says that their performance at this year’s fall concert made him especially proud because the orchestra did not let this challenge keep them from performing well.

“[The fall concert] was just about two months after Mrs. Meyer’s accident and there were still a lot of uncertainties at that point,” Kaplan said. “We didn’t know when Mrs. Meyer was coming back, [and] we weren’t sure if she was going to be able to come to the concert in November. The music we were going to play was very difficult, so that fall performance we pulled together and we were able to give an outstanding performance in spite of everything that had happened.”

Meyer explained that even though she has been unable to be with the orchestra much this year, the success of the group has not come as a surprise to her.

“They have such great work ethic,” Meyer said. “They are just really enthusiastic about what they do, so I thought that no matter what challenges they faced, they would pull together and do really well because of the culture of the program.”

After performing in the spring concert, Tracy Tojo, South senior and GSO cellist, had her four years of performing with GSO come to an end.

“A lot of [GSO members] I have known for all four years,” Tojo said. “I think [seeing GSO members] is one of the things I will miss most about GSO. It’s been really nice getting to crossover with North, so I’ve made a lot of friends at GBN also.”

Meyer believes that the character of GSO members is something that makes them a special group.

“I always say to the kids […], ‘We are good people first’,” Meyer said. “What that means is, in our group they’re students, they’re scholars, they’re athletes, they’re leaders, but before you can be any of those things, your character is what anchors you. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, who you are matters most. I think that’s the thing that is the most meaningful part of this group. The thing they do the best is they care about each other, and they care about their character first.”