Seniors say goodbye to Con Amici
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On May 2, music echoed throughout the historic auditorium of the Washington County Courthouse. The melodies were performed by the Con Amici Orchestra. After preparing for months, their final concert for the year was ready and it was designed to impress.
This extracurricular ensemble of students requires an audition to enter and meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for one hour, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Only a select group of students were invited to join. New students have the privilege to join as auditions for next year are coming up in late May.
Con Amici is designed to be a more close knit orchestra than the regular orchestra. It involves time outside of school, so only students who are serious about orchestra are able to join.
“It was kind of an honor [to join] at first. There were invitations sent out to audition for it. So it seemed really selective. It is a closer group than the regular school orchestra is. You know everybody in the group and we are all really close friends,” junior Matt Dietrich said.
Having the opportunity to play in Con Amici is a way to improve at playing a string instrument, but it is also a great way to meet new people.
“My favorite part about Con Amici is being able to connect with people. Not only outside of playing, but while we are playing. It is an experience I won’t forget,” sophomore Weston McGinely said.
For preparing for the final Con Amici concert of the year, plenty of practice went into polishing the material to play for the audience.
“Personally, there is a lot of time at home that goes into practicing all the songs,” Dietrich said.
A great concert is not exactly something that can be made the night before. That is why Con Amici has been preparing for several months to make sure the concert runs smoothly.
“We’ve been preparing for three or four months. It’s been quite a bit, hard work and dedication. That’s what it comes down to,” McGinely said.
Practicing for a concert is one thing, but playing for an audience is something different entirely. However, as would be expected, after playing for a crowd many times, the students get more comfortable with many eyes focused on them when they are on stage.
“It wasn’t as nerve wracking for me as it was for the soloists. It is kind of a big deal, but you just get used to it after a while for your performances,” Dietrich said.
The concert was played at the Historic Courthouse in the middle of downtown Stillwater. The building was built back in 1870, but is still used for many events today. Last year, Con Amici had a concert that took place at the courthouse as well.
“It is definitely a nice open place to play in and it sounds good. So that’s nice. It is also a cool place in town. And it was just a really nice day too,” Dietrich said.
For the concert itself, six pieces of music were played. Most of the songs were written by well known composers such as Johann Bach or Antonio Vivaldi. For some of the songs, students played solos. The students that had a solo were fifth grader Grace Weitzel on the violin, freshman Lily Mayek on the viola and junior Hailey Concepcion on the cello.
“I thought it was very good, I liked the song choices and I thought it went well,” junior Jack Leach said.
The audience received the music well. At the end of the concert, there was a standing ovation and plenty of applause.
“It was really fun. For our last concert I was really glad with how well it went,” Dietrich said.
After the crowd dissipated, many seniors realized that this was the last concert they will ever play for Con Amici. With the loss of many experienced musicians, Con Amici will have to recruit more students to replenish the talent they will be losing.
“We have some good juniors that will take over the leadership roles. So it should be just as fun next year,” McGinely said.