When young, upcoming classical musicians perform, it’s easy to imagine them being welcomed to a crowded theatre with enthused audience members. This is apparently not a very common sight at Eastern University. At three o’clock on Sept. 24, the Tri Country Concert was held, featuring a lovely string quartet that deserved massive appreciation for their amazing performance. This was the Rolston string Quartet, with members Luri Lee on violin, Jeffrey Dyrda also on violin, Hezekiah Leung on the viola and Jonathan Lo on the cello. On the ¨Tri-County Concert Association¨ website under Emerging Artists, it is stated that, ¨The Rolston String Quartet was named among the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2016 ´30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30´… A winner of Astral’s 2016 National Auditions and the 2016 John Lad Prize, the quartet was also the Grand Prize winner of the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition and a prizewinner at the inaugural M-Prize competition and the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition¨ ( Tri-County Concerts Association). On Sept. 24, they performed Beethoven’s String Quartet in D major, Op.18, No.3, Schafer’s String Quartet No.2 ¨Waves¨ and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10.
Even though members of our surrounding community were more than pleased to hear this impressive quartet play, a lot of Eastern students unfortunately missed out. Before I started listening to classical musical, I thought it was boring. I think this is what a lot of students think before they listen to it, so they decide not to attend a concert. But I was surprised to realize I actually really enjoy listening to it, especially in concert. One can feel the raw emotions in the notes as they’re played, and hear the ups and downs of the story that is being told. I think it really is a wonderful thing that everyone should experience.
I often work the light board at these kinds of events, being a student worker for the Drama Department here at Eastern. As my co-worker, James Arnold, and I peered over the balcony overhanging the booth in which we operated, James noted, ¨There are only about 10 Eastern students.¨ This is compared to the some odd 70 other audience members who came from the outer community. We figured more would show up as time went on, but that did not happen.
I would not say this shocked me. As I said, I’m usually the light tech for these events, which includes the Tri County Concert that took place last spring. That attendance—or lack thereof—of Eastern students almost matches, or even beats the low attendance set two weekends ago at the previous concert. We would like to keep the attendance at these musical events and all Eastern events in general, as high as they could possibly be. Even though I always enjoy working these events because the light setup is fairly simple so I get to enjoy the concert, it´s disheartening to see such little interest in these events in our school community.
The Tri County Concert is not the only musical event that seems to get ignored by the student body. Camerata is an event that was held the afternoon before that. Amazing pianist Tomoko Kanamaru, fantastic violinist Luigi Mazzocchi and stellar cellist Stephen Framil, all performed on the same stage on Sept. 23. They played Ludwig van Beethoven´s Sonata in No. 1 in F for Piano & Cello, Op. 5 No. 1, Reinhold Glière´s Huit Morceaux Op. 39 and Beethoven´s Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat, Op. 97 (“Archduke.¨) This was another great, classical performance that was missed by so many of our students. I even felt a bit embarrassed for the performers who poured their hearts out on the stage, because there were only a total of 10 people in the crowd.
These recent turnouts left me disappointed. Such great performers should be appreciated, especially since most are up and coming in the classical world. I think this lack of interest in these events is very concerning, since it shows students seem to be disinterested in classical music, which has had such a huge impact on music composition in general. I hope that more students will learn to appreciate and be inspired to attend these musical events, since they are not only educational, but also entertaining.
The next opportunity to see a Tri-County Concert is Sunday, Oct. 22nd at 3:00 pm where guitarist Jordan Dodson will perform. All music event schedules and ticketing information can be found on Eastern University´s website.