Orchestra Tour Features French Romantics

By Scott Craig   |   February 21, 2023
The Westmont College Orchestra (photo by Brad Elliott)

The Westmont Orchestra performs at several locations as part of a Presidents’ Day weekend tour, Feb. 16-18. These concerts are open to the public and free. The orchestra will perform “Amazing Grace,” Bizet’s “Carmen Suite” and Franck’s “Symphony in D minor” at 7 pm Thursday in San Marcos High School (4750 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara); 7 pm Friday in Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church (1825 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang); and at 7 pm Saturday in Calvary Baptist Church (3355 Constellation Road, Lompoc). The orchestra concludes its tour Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1:30 pm in Westmont’s Page Multi-Purpose Room. 

Orchestra conductor Ruth Lin says she is looking forward to seeing her students grow and deepen their understanding of the music and what it sounds like in different spaces. “This will no doubt be edifying for them because they will all of a sudden hear things they hadn’t heard before,” she says. 

The pieces by French romantic composers Bizet and Franck both received cool responses at their premieres. “Bizet’s Carmen is now one of the most beloved operas in the canon,” Lin says. “Franck’s ‘Symphony in D minor’ was criticized by Ravel as ‘colorless with heavy instrumentation often spoiling the beauty of its ideas.’ Yet, its sincerity, humanism, and Franck’s particular use of harmonic modulations as musical colors has withstood the test of time and is now appreciated as a work that spoke its own truth.”

Lin says she looks forward to sharing the talents of these students with the wider community. “These students are blessed with the gift of music, and sharing this gift with the community is a wonderful way to honor the gifts that God has given them,” she says. 

Also this month, the Westmont Orchestra performs beloved hymns at a fundraising concert Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 pm in the sanctuary of Santa Barbara Community Church, 1002 Cieneguitas Road. Admission to the concert is free, but donations are warmly welcomed and always appreciated. 

The Westmont music department hosts its annual Guild Competition on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7 pm in Deane Chapel. The event, which includes a concert, features talented prospective students who compete for substantial music scholarships. The concert is free and open to the public. The Vocal Guild Competition is Saturday, March 4, at 7 pm in Deane Chapel.


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