Bernstein At 100: The Musical Legacy of Lenny

Caroline Wilkerson, Copy Editor~


Last Friday in a joint performance by the University of Lynchburg’s wind symphony, orchestra, and choir performed pieces by the musical legend, Leonard Bernstein.

This was the first concert of the 2018-2019 school year. Typically, the wind symphony and orchestra would have already performed at least once by this time of the year, however, due to the hurricane and flooding that hit the east coast, the concert scheduled for Parent’s Weekend was cancelled.

Lynchburg student, Kimberly Mendez, said, “As someone who has been to quite a few of these concerts, I thought the production was amazing per usual. The tribute to Leonard Bernstein accurately depicted Bernstein’s ability to break the boundaries of classical music during his time.”

According to Carol Oja, a professor at Harvard University, Leonard Bernstein is “celebrated as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century—ushered in an era of major cultural and technological transition. He led the way in advocating an open attitude about what constituted “good” music, actively bridging the gap between classical music, Broadway musicals, jazz, and rock, and he seized new media for its potential to reach diverse communities of listeners, young and old.

The concert consisted of selections from West Side Story including “I Feel Pretty,” “One Hand One Heart,” “Cool,” and “Maria,” “Ohio” from Wonderful Town, and the classic, Overture to “Candide.” There were also performances by Curtain Call, the University’s musical theater program, as well as the school’s Opera Workshop.

Mark Stephens, who is a senior biomedical science major, and who has been playing the violin for the University’s program before he was even a student, said, “being the first concert of this semester, and making it five years playing with the wind symphony and orchestra, it was a thrilling and emotional evening on a few accounts! I was very excited to play and hear Bernstein, and I cannot wait to play in the upcoming Holiday concert!”

Shortly following the concert, Dr. Oeida Hatcher, Associate Dean for the School of Visual and Performing Arts, sent an email to the performers of the concert saying, “President Garren and multiple other audience members wanted more wind symphony and orchestra music. They wanted the concert to be longer as well—who knew?” She concluded the email with “Again congrats on a job well done—hope you are pleased with yourselves—I know I am quite proud of your musical accomplishments this evening.”

The next concert is the University of Lynchburg Wind Symphony and Orchestra Holiday Concert scheduled for Wednesday, December 5th, Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th.


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