Orchestrating Broadway

Queen’s University Chamber Orchestra performs classics

The group performed songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables.
Image by: Arwin Chan
The group performed songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables.

For their final concert of the year, the Queen’s University Chamber Orchestra (QUCO) brought the magic of Broadway to life.

With the performance of pieces from well-known musical classics, spanning from The Phantom of the Opera to Les Miserables, the orchestra ended the season on a powerful note at Theological Hall on Saturday.

The only student-directed orchestra group on campus, QUCO is made up of a talented group of musicians from a variety of faculties. Conducted by Steve Sedo, ArtSci ’15, the group plays a variety of music ranging from classical greats, like Tchaikovsky, to Broadway musical classics.

Kicking off the concert, QUCO predictably performed selected pieces from The Phantom of the Opera, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Including favourites such as “Angel of Music” and “Masquerade”, the orchestra attempted to bring forth the dramatic suspense of the musical masterpiece. However, despite the undeniable talent of this group of musicians, the eeriness of the pieces weren’t expressed to the fullest.

The dynamics in the opening piece, the theme song of The Phantom of the Opera, could’ve been more impactful. The sections blurred together to the point where the deep tones from the brass section were overpowered. The lack of distinction between dynamics made the piece sound messy and somewhat dissonant at times.

Once the orchestra transitioned to the piece “Think of Me”, the quality of the performance improved. The orchestra beautifully expressed the feelings of longing and devotion inherent to the song.

The orchestra, moving away from the somber pieces of The Phantom of the Opera, also showcased more contemporary musical styles with a selection of sultry pieces from the musical Chicago.

Jazzy and intoxicating, these pieces invoked a vibe reminiscent of the roaring twenties — the cello section stole the show with their performance of these selections.

Finishing the concert on a substantially stronger note than the one it started on, the orchestra’s performance of selections from Les Miserables was the perfect finish to the afternoon.

With just the right amount of drama and suspenseful build-up, the orchestra nailed each and every nuance in the dynamics. The result was an amazingly textured performance with not a single note out of tune.

Nowhere was this more evident than in their performance of the piece “Can you Hear the People Sing”, as it was evident that both the performers and the audience were drawn in to the revolutionary fervour inspired by the piece.

Despite, a shaky start, the orchestra’s last concert of the season successfully showcased the talents and hard work of these dedicated musicians.



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