May 25, 2024

In a captivating display of musical talent, California Baptist University’s Symphony Orchestra mesmerized audiences with a rendition of Borodin’s Symphony 2 and Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta. 

Adding to the evening was a performance by CBU’s Concerto competition winner, Lillian Bostrom, senior music for Viola instrumental performance and music education major. 

Held at the nearby Northpoint Church on Friday, March 22, the event drew friends and family together, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement as attendees eagerly awaited the students’ enchanting melodies to fill the air.

In the lead-up to the Symphony Orchestra’s eagerly awaited performance, anticipation was high as they prepared for their final semester showcase. 

Amid the preparations, the victorious soloist of CBU’s Concerto competition awaited her moment to shine alongside the orchestra.

“So the symphony orchestra has been preparing for this entire semester to put on our final hurrah,” Bostrom said, “The third piece of the program, I get to premiere as a soloist. It’s a viola Concerto for Orchestra. Last semester, there was a competition that took place where six to seven people all played in front of a panel, and whoever won got to play with the orchestra the following semester, which I got to win.”

Bostrom has been preparing for her solo since last semester and is hoping for the audience to have a real connection to her playing. 

Bostrom got the piece a year ago and began preparing for the competition at the beginning of last semester. Now, she has the opportunity to debut her solo piece. 

“So my piece is the Bruch romance for Viola and orchestra. And a romance should be lovely. But I’m really trying to take like a more sad, longing and almost desperate view of love in this piece. And I really hope that my listeners will be able to maybe relate it to something that they’ve experienced, like losing. Losing contact, losing love or something like that,” Bostrom said.

Not only was Bostrom a soloist for the performance, but she played the rest of the music with the symphony orchestra. 

Bostrom explained the help that she received from professors that she looked up to and the overwhelming support that she has received from them.

“Professor [Aristides] Rivas has been instrumental in guiding me. He sat with me and listened to me play this piece a lot. And to be able to take now where he sat, or I guess I’ll be standing and play with the orchestra. Also, with the man, Dr. [Gene] Moon, who gave me an opportunity to play viola in the first place, professionally as a career. It’s just overwhelming, with the gratitude I have,” Bostrom said.

The symphony orchestra puts on a musically gifted performance, and students flock to the stands in support of their friends and classmates to hear their art.  Amberly Bulkley, senior communication studies major, is always there to support her friends in the music department.

“I’m a little biased. So Evan Judson plays one of the French horns, and he has a solo. And so that was my favorite, because he was really good. I just really enjoyed that the most, especially the last piece that they played. It was the longest, but it was definitely worth sitting through,” Bulkley said.

Despite their mesmerizing concerts, not many students attend the concerts that CBU performing arts students work so hard to put on. While livestreams offer a glimpse, nothing compares to the immersive experience of attending a live performance, where the talent and passion of the musicians truly shine.

“I feel like they’re very underrated. The School of Performing Arts concerts are beautiful to experience in person; you can livestream them,  but just experience live music,” Bulkley said, “They have a variety of music that they play, so I definitely recommend.”

Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestras and the director of this symphony orchestra, interacted with the audience and spoke highly of each individual who was a part of the ensemble.

“This orchestra performed the best,” Moon said, “They should be very proud of themselves. And they really took it to a level that transcends the notes and meets the psyche and the emotion.”

Moon praised the orchestra’s performance, noting its ability to evoke deep emotions beyond mere notes. Bostrom echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of enjoying music and overcoming nerves to immerse oneself fully in its beauty. Together, their remarks captured the orchestra’s journey from technical skill to emotional resonance.

“I think there’s a point where the music should stand for itself. And if you work hard enough, it shouldn’t be about nerves anymore. It should be just about enjoying the music and living through it,” Bostrom said.

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