Washburn Symphony Orchestra concert making city history

Regina Budden

This Wednesday will mark a significant achievement for the Washburn University Symphony Orchestra. At 7:30 p.m. in White Concert Hall, the orchestra will perform in its seventh concert of the school year, a feat that music director Norman Gamboa said tops that of even the Topeka Symphony Orchestra.

Another thing that will set this concert apart is that in most WU orchestra performances, in at least one song, the orchestra accompanies a soloist. If an appropriate soloist from outside the university is unable to be found, then Gamboa said at least one of the music faculty performs.

“Mainly this is so students have interaction with professionals,” said Gamboa. In this concert, however, the orchestra will stand alone.

The central piece being featured in this particular concert is “Symphony No. 5 in E minor,” by Tchaikovsky. It is one of the biggest pieces available for the orchestra in music literature, said Gamboa. It is also important that every music student is familiar with it.

“[The Symphony] is one of the most representative of romantic orchestral repertoire,” said Gamboa.

One of the most impressive things about this performance is that, with as difficult as Tchaikovsky’s symphony is, the program has been put together with only six rehearsals.

“The orchestra has really risen to the case,” said Gamboa.

The orchestra has not always operated this professionally, however. Gamboa said that being able to handle pieces of this size has taken the WU orchestra a while to reach.

“It’s been a process,” he said. “I’ve been building it up for five years, and now the orchestra has reached a mature level.”

The performance is free and open to the public, and Gamboa hopes there will be a large turnout to give his students a chance to display their accomplishments.

“It has been quite challenging, and it speaks quite well of the level of our music students here at Washburn,” he said.