Concerto/Aria competition brings out solos

By Brian Park
Staff Writer 
Making music has been with senior concertmaster Jillian Economy almost all her life. Ever since she started playing the violin at age three, her practicing and effort led to who she is today. She looks forward to further her success as a musician by choosing to audition for the concerto/aria competition that was held on Jan. 18.
“I am doing the concerto/aria competition because there is a solo I’ve been wanting to play forever, it’s my favorite,” Economy said. “And I figured it was my senior year, so it’s the last time I get to play with Prospect’s orchestra.”
The concerto/aria competition is for any individual musicians and vocalists that have a song prepared for his or her audition.  Then, the selected students would have an opportunity to be featured in the spring orchestra and jazz concert on May 3rd at 7 p.m. Students are not guaranteed to play the song they auditioned with, however. It depends on whether the piece is suitable for the orchestra, according to orchestra director Patrick O’Connor.
Some pieces that have been played for the competition in the past include the Brook violin concerto, an aria from The Old Maid and the Thief, and the Brahms piano concerto.
The number of selected students vary from year to year, according to O’Connor. There has been as many as six performances in the past, and guest artists could also be invited to play in the concert. To add a twist, there will also be a trio trying out this year, which is pretty rare.
“It [selecting students] depends on the amount of people that try out, the type of music they’re performing,” O’Connor said. “If a lot of it’s very difficult and the best student has one that plays a really difficult piece for the orchestra, we might only do one.”
According to O’Connor, there are usually more concerto (instrumental) pieces than arias (vocal). In the past seven years, there has only been about six vocalists sing with the orchestra.

“Singing and arias is something that usually only the most advanced choir students would do,” O’Connor said. “It’s a little easier for instrumentalists to find a concerto to perform.”

Finding a concerto to play may be easy, but practicing that piece in order to prepare for auditions may be very time-consuming for musicians.

“I try to practice it every day because practicing in increments is more effective than sitting down for five hours and just playing as much as you can,” Economy said.
Ultimately, the goal of the competition is to create great music in a collaborative environment. O’Connor recommends for any musician who has got an concerto or aria together to try out because it would be a great learning experience even if he or she didn’t make it.
“It’s nice to get the students an outlet to showcase talent and ability,” O’Connor said.