College-Community Orchestra to showcase talents of Oswego State

The College-Community Orchestra is ending the semester with a concert for Oswego State on Tuesday, May 5, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

"The orchestra plays several concerts annually," orchestra director and associate professor Juan F. La Manna said. "On some occasions, students are featured as soloists."

For four Oswego State music department students, the event is a great opportunity for them to showcase their musical talents as they have been conferred the honor of being the featured soloists of the concert.

"Tim Lanigan, pianist, will perform the first movement of Schumann’s beautiful piano concerto," La Manna said. "Wojciech Milewski, clarinetist, will perform the first movement of Weber’s passionate first clarinet concerto."

The other two soloists are baritones Jonathan Powers and Tamar Tafari-Greene. Powers will perform the aria "Non piu andrai" from Mozart’s delightful opera "The Marriage of Figaro," Tafari-Greene will perform Handel’s majestic aria "Total Eclipse" from the oratorio "Samson."

"It is a very high honor," Milewski said. "In the world of professional music, only the best of the best are selected to display their musicianship by their peers and conductors, as they are the musicians that offer the most to music on their particular instrument."

"It feels good to receive this kind of handshake as I’m about to leave Oswego," Powers said. "I have dreamt throughout my college career of singing as a soloist with orchestral accompaniment."

La Manna spoke highly about all four of the soloists. "Love them," La Manna said. "They are our very best students, and they are doing a fantastic job. They are performing wonderful pieces."

"The Weber concerto is a staple of the clarinet repertoire. It’s beauty is matched by its technical prowess, and it presented an immense challenge to make those two combine to create a piece of music," Milewski said of his song choice. "There is a reason why this piece is on my graduate school applications for solo clarinet, and that is it."

"Since I am doing a recital in the fall of 2009, I wanted to choose a concerto that best displays the qualities of romantic music, is technically difficult, and is not as over-played as the Mozart clarinet concerto, which I am sure everyone has heard at least once in their life," Milewski said.

Explaining why he chose "Total Eclipse," Tafari-Greene said "When I first heard of the competition, I decided to look back on some that I knew were oratorios or pieces accompanied with orchestra and there were a few."

"The aria I am doing is very passionate and very open, leaving time for me to interpret the music in my own way thus making it more dramatic," Tafari-Greene said. "I thought it would be perfect to do with an orchestra."

"My piano professor, Dr. Robert Auler, and I, chose this piece because of the beautiful melodies in it. Schumann also does an excellent job of making the orchestra an integral part of the concerto," Lanigan said. "Plus, I love it!"

"At this point, I do not know where life will take me, but I know that music will be a part of it," Milewski said. "Maybe with this performance I will be one step closer to finding my true career path, or maybe not. Either way, it is a wonderful opportunity to play with Oswego’s finest musicians, and of the world’s greatest conductors and teachers in Juan La Manna."

"I think it will be a great concert. Some of the music is very difficult and has been a challenge, but it is all very pleasant," La Manna said. "I hope many people attend and support our very best student."

Admission for the event is free, but a suggested donation of $5 will support the Oswego State Music Department’s Excellence Fund. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends. People with disabilities seeking special accommodations should contact the music department at 315-312-2130.