On Monday, April 14 at 7:30pm the Jacksonville State University Community Orchestra presented its spring concert in the Mason Hall Performance Center.
For the last fifteen years, the orchestra has been conducted by Michael R. Gagliardo and there had been rumors that he was stepping down as conducctor. Gagliardo indeed confirmed that Monday night was his last performance with the group.
The orchestra is made up of community members, JSU faculty and staff, and and JSU students, which provides for a variety of ideas and musical interpretations throughout each piece they perform.
"It is truly remarkable for a group of musicians such as this to get together once a week in a great environment and make wonderful music," says Gagliardo.
Their first piece of the night was Jean Berger's Short Overture for Strings, performed admirably by the orchestra.
Their second piece was William Boyce's Suite for Strings after Sonata No. 10, which really accentuated the fact that the audience was listening to a live orchestra, a beautiful manifestation of music that many people never get to experience.
Next, they performed J.S. Bach's Suite No.3. BWV 1068, D Major. They played the second movement, entitled Air, another beautiful example of orchestra literature.
The next piece, entitled Divertimento, K. 136, seemed to be a favorite of the orchestra. They played the second movement of this piece (Allegro) as well.
Their final piece of the night was Concerto for Two Flutes, R. 533 in C Major by Antonio Vivaldi.
Vivaldi was a composer that wrote literature for teaching purposes, and appropriately, JSU flute student Elizabeth Laird performed the duet with flute professor, Dr. Jeremy Benson.
The last piece included several movements, and Laird was able to give a little insight on the thought process of a performer during a concert or recital. "It's really fun," says Laird. "The first part is always a little shaky because you know you have to get all of your nerves out, but the rest of it is really awesome."
Laird, Benson, Gagliardo, and the entire orchestra delivered a truly wonderful experience to the audience in their ever-reaching effort to supply Jacksonville with the culture provided by their unique art and talent.