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Southern Virginia University

Firebird, Fiddler and Group Groove

December 10, 2015

Last month’s orchestra concert brought something called ‘group groove’ to my mind. I was introduced to the concept of group groove as a sophomore playing in the Southern Virginia University Orchestra. It came up while the orchestra worked on some groovy selections from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” but it applies to all kinds of music, groovy or not. The concept is simple. It’s about the ensemble appropriately feeling and getting into the music, whatever the style, as they perform it. It’s kind of the “play” side of performance.

In last month’s concert the orchestra tackled a large amount of challenging repertoire, including the “Finale” from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” a suite from “Fiddler on the Roof,” the first movement of Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto — with the cello solo played expertly by Katie DeLaMare — and Sibelius’s tone poem “Finlandia.” The breadth of this concert’s literature offered lots of different “grooves” into which the orchestra could find purchase. “The Firebird” celebrated rebirth, awakening and renewal, while “Fiddler on the Roof” evoked messages of faith, joy and sorrow within families and that sometimes undeniable urge just to stand up and dance. Other pieces were stately, foreboding, graceful or often a mix of several different attitudes.

What I enjoyed most about this concert was how the group grooved in so many different styles. It fit the music. It kind of was the music.

(Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

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