Strings teacher Wendell Simmons put on a Superman cape to conduct the first Philharmonic Orchestra show of the year on Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Meyer Hall. Following six weeks of preparation and a show with one piece totaling over 40 minutes long, the audience gave a standing ovation to the ensemble of various chamber instruments.

“We all have to make sure we’re in sync with Mr. Simmons because he’s the conductor, and he leads the whole orchestra,” strings sophomore Clarissa Benjamin said. Students performed “From the Seraglio” by Mozart, “Symphony No. 7” by Beethoven, and “Superman” by John Williams.

“It’s a lot to learn in very little time, and there are a bunch of moving pieces to everyone’s part, so it’s really hard to connect them in orchestra when you don’t have everyone with you,” strings sophomore Christina Meyaart said.

Students began preparing for the concert long before the actual performance, even being tested on their individual performances prior to the show. They also practiced at home to master the techniques needed to perfect their pieces, as Meyaart mentioned. 

“Everyone cares so much about every single song and their own parts individually, and how well we do in a concert,” Meyaart said. 

The audience members attending the show filled the theater with enthusiasm during the performance. 

“I’m here because I have a lot of friends in [the Philharmonic Orchestra], and I’m here to support them,” vocal sophomore Lilly Critchett said. “It’s a really good turnout.”

Of the compositions performed, “Superman” by John Williams was a crowd favorite. The audience let out a few laughs before the iconic piece began, as Mr. Simmons sported the iconic superhero’s cape in spirit of the performance. 

“Mr. Simmons—he has a character,” strings sophomore Natalia Sanchez said. “He’s very funny but serious at the same time. He’s good at what he does.”

After the instruments were put away, Meyer Hall was filled with student musicians as their parents greeted them with balloons, hugs, and congratulations about performing in the Philharmonic Orchestra’s first show of the year. 

“It can be stressful at times, but in the end it’s worth it,” Benjamin said. “We get to put on this great performance together and show our parents and classmates the work that we put in our major.”

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  • Students warm up on the cello before strings teacher Wendell Simmons comes on stage to conduct the first concert piece, “From the Seraglio” by Mozart. Originally composed for an opera in the 1780s, commissioner and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II said on its opening night, “Too lovely for our ears, and far too many notes, my dear Mozart!” It was the most complicated piece in German history at the time of its creation.

  • Mr. Simmons conducts the ensemble, leading them through lengthy pieces and various harmonies. The breaks between the sections of the songs were filled by quiet murmurs from the audience. The final piece, “Superman,” received a standing ovation.

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