Symphony orchestra invited to perform at conference


By Cole Altmayer, entertainment editor
Five months prior to the Prospect Symphony Orchestra’s trip down to Peoria for the Illinois Music Education Conference on Jan. 26, senior and violin section principal Nickolas Konstantinou had some doubts about their chances of being accepted.
“I know we were improving, but [going down to] state seemed like a far-fetched goal to us,” Konstantinou said.
However, their audition tape they had sent to the conference was a success, and Prospect was among only two schools accepted to play as a full orchestra at the meet, the other being Metea Valley in Aurora.
The work, however, did not stop there. In fact, it was only the beginning of a five month long journey, culminating in a three-hour bus trek down to Peoria and performing some of the most complicated and challenging music that the Symphony Orchestra has ever tackled.
“In any normal situation, we’re trying to prepare literature to a very high degree,” orchestra director Peter Weber said. “But for this, we set our sights to playing at an extremely high, professional level. … We set our sights very high, and I think we surpassed that.”
The honor of the entire orchestra being invited to play the event humbled both Weber and Konstantinou, especially since this was the first time that the Prospect Symphony Orchestra as a whole had ever been invited.
Weber took the reins of directing symphony orchestra three years ago, and Konstantinou believes that his guidance has bolstered the skill and dedication of the team. Under Weber, he feels that the team has reached a level of independence and natural teamwork that was key in bringing them to state.
“You always watch the conductor as a part of your section, but we were also able to open up and listen to the other parts of the orchestra as well,” Konstantinou said. “It meshed together in a cool way that it hadn’t before. You could have more fun with [the music].”
While Konstantinou felt more confident leading his section at the conference than he ever had before, he still got some jitters. Weber remarked that the biggest challenge of performing at such an event is intimidation of performing in an unfamiliar location; playing music in a full fledged auditorium like the Peoria Civic Center is a lot different than the confines of the Prospect orchestra room.
“Going into this performance was a huge unknown because we didn’t know what the venue was going to be… what the setup was going to be like, how much time we had to rehearse. That’s challenging,” Weber said. “It’d be like going into a basketball game without knowing what the shape of the ball was going to be.”
The event was not a competitive one, and thus orchestra did not come home with any accolades to speak of, other than a strong sense of pride and the honor of being the first team from Prospect to attend. And, most importantly according to Konstantinou, they got to play some great music.
“It wasn’t the most accurately we’ve ever played,” Konstantinou said. “But it was the most fun we’ve ever had with the music.”