One of the often-underappreciated aspects of life in Galesburg is the opportunity to attend the concerts performed by the Knox-Galesburg Symphony. The most recent concert, on October 17, was a display of musical talent by Galesburg community members and Knox students alike. The star of the performance, however, was the 15-year-old guest soloist, violist Ariel Chapman.
Though her initial stage presence was demure, this young talent performed a beautiful and confident rendition of Bloch’s Suite Hebraique with a depth of emotion far beyond her years. After a long round of applause, Maestro Bruce Polay, who is also a Knox professor, beckoned Chapman back on stage to perform a solo of her own composition. This too was filled with emotion and garnered a seemingly unending amount of applause.
Adding to the depth of her performance of the suite was the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, who also performed two pieces without their featured soloist. They began their program with Schubert’s Overture to Rosamunde, which provided a rousing start to this concert. The orchestra captured both the serious and lighthearted moods of this diverse piece with style all their own.
Next, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony accompanied soloist Chapman with skill and grace. After a short intermission, the orchestra returned to finish the concert with the four movements of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. In a symphony such as this, each movement has its own characteristic style, into which the orchestra transitioned smoothly. In this particular piece, the movements were marked Vivace, Allegretto, Presto, and Allegro con brio, all of which denote a relatively fast tempo. Thus, the members of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony must have been rather exhausted after an over 30-minute rendition of this symphony, though one could not have guessed this during their tenacious, skilled performance.
During any performance by this group, one is compelled to watch the graceful conducting of this orchestra by Dr. Polay as he beckons the music from the performers and their instruments.
Because of their artful performance, the grace and skill of their conductor, and the youthful virtuosity of their soloist, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony deserved the standing ovation they received at the conclusion of their performance. Every Knox student has the opportunity to enjoy the upcoming concerts of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony season, as tickets are free for those who show Knox IDs. The next performance of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony will take place November 14th at the Orpheum Theater in Galesburg.