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Student, faculty talent fill out Waco Orchestra

Jan. 21, 1997

Courtesy Photo

Waco Symphony Orchestra conductor, Stephen Heyde, leads a diverse troupe, that includes Baylor students.

By Kelly Maher

Lariat Reporter

Unbeknownst to many University students, several celebrated symphonic musicians can be found on campus.

Each year the Waco Symphony Orchestra selects a few students to play with them for the season. The auditions students participate in are intensive and competitive. They must perform in front of a panel of professional musicians and are hand-picked by the conductor, Stephen Heyde, also the conductor of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra.

According to Susan Taylor, executive director of the Waco Symphony Association, the Waco Symphony Orchestra is now in its 35th season. The orchestra performs six concerts a year. The 85 members include University students and faculty, community players and out-of-town professionals from Austin and Dallas. The orchestra has not traveled out of the area yet, but that could be a future possibility.

Most of the students are graduate students, but a few undergraduates are selected each season. Brenda Garcia, a McAllen junior and violinist, is one of the chosen few.

'I feel it is a real honor because there are a lot of (University) professors and professionals from Dallas in the orchestra,' Garcia said.

Garcia, who joined the Waco Symphony Orchestra last fall, has been playing the violin for 11 years.

One benefit noted by several students is that the position is paid.

'It is nice to be able to do something you love and get paid for it too,' Garcia said.

Fellow violinist and University student, Emily Klophaus, has been playing for the Waco Symphony Orchestra for five years. When asked about time spent practicing, Klophaus said that since the orchestra has so few concerts per year, the musicians do not have to practice every week together as an orchestra, but they must each practice many hours a week individually. Many of the students in the Waco Symphony Orchestra perform in the Baylor Symphony Orchestra as well, adding even more practice times to their already heavy load.

Although performing in an orchestra can require a great time commitment there can be many rewards.

'The best part about it is it prepares you to get a job because we play real literature,' Klophaus said.

The Waco Symphony Orchestra can be heard in two upcoming concerts. On March 6, they will perform at Waco Hall and feature pianist Enrique Graf. On April 5, they will again perform at Waco Hall and feature soloist David Hickman on the trumpet.

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