Dana Symphony Orchestra starts off on high note

By Molly Burke

Dana Symphony Orchestra held its first concert of the season at Powers Auditorium in Deyor Performing Arts Center, Oct. 12. 

The orchestra played a chamber version of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” under the lead of conductor Michael Butler, the Director of Bands. This orchestral suite is made up of seven movements, each one composed to represent the seven planets beyond Earth. 

Audrey Jobe, senior education major, plays violin in the Dana Symphony Orchestra. Jobe said working alongside other musicians the last four years has helped her to pursue a career in music. 

“[Collaboration] has definitely helped me with my ensemble skills. It really makes you a more disciplined person and musician,” Jobe said. “I really enjoy playing with the Dana Symphony Orchestra because I really love my colleagues and everyone in the string studio.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the orchestra had to shut down its normal procedures of playing music. For a while, practices were solely online, and students wouldn’t play their instruments. When the orchestra got back to playing in person, things still weren’t the same, according to Jobe.

“It was really strange. We had very separate ensembles and we followed all the spacing regulations,” Jobe said. “I personally don’t feel like we’re back in the full swing of things. The whole point about music is that social aspect of being able to collaborate and create with each other, and that was taken away.”

Katie Berlin, a senior music education major, plays horn with the orchestra. Berlin said she was excited to present the orchestra’s hard work at the concert. 

“I’m most excited for the fourth movement, [‘Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity’], because it has a really great horn part. But really I am just excited for everyone to see the work that the orchestra has put into this great program,” Berlin said. “There’s countless hours of practice that it took for us to get here. It’s really a culmination of everyone’s musicianship.”

Junior vocal education major, Caroline Mclaughlin, sang backstage at the concert with the Dana Chorale during the last movement of “The Planets” “Neptune, the Mystic.” She said she feels there is a shortage of support for the arts right now, and hopes more people come out to support events like the Dana Symphony Orchestra Concert. 

“We’re all trying to fight to have better support for the music school.” So, the more people that come out and support student events the more funding we’ll get ultimately,” Mclaughlin said.

Despite this, the music students were able to showcase their hard work at the concert.

Conductor Michael Butler declined to comment on the Dana Symphony Orchestra Concert.

Ensemble auditions are held each semester and are open to all Youngstown State University students. For more information, email the music academic advisor, Shannon Holdridge at smholdridge@ysu.edu. Information regarding upcoming events can be found on the Dana Symphony Orchestra’s Facebook page.