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Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra


Orchestra Violin 900 x 600

Seeking to glorify God and minister to others through music making, the award-winning Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to developing rich musical understanding through rehearsal and performance of a wide variety of symphonic repertoire.

The orchestra performs four full concerts during the year, plus the Commencement Celebration Concert and either the Christmas Festival or Children’s Concerts.  Concerts this year will be in the new acoustically and aesthetically splendid Armerding Concert Hall.  Concerts begin at 7:30, with tickets available at the door (tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, and free with college and student ID). All concerts are live-streamed at wheaton.edu/streaming.  Initial concerts of this season are likely to be streamed online only, with no admittance to the concert hall itself, because of COVID-19 protocols. 
 
“The WCSO has been one of the defining pillars of my experience at Wheaton. It has not only shaped how I think about and practice large-ensemble chamber music, but has significantly broadened and deepened my love for the art. It has also provided me with a truly authentic community over my four years at Wheaton; one fully centered on Christ and dedicated to pursuing a high degree of musical excellence.”
-Micah Sanders, cellist, class of 2020
 
"The promise of a Wheaton education is that you'll find yourself engaging deeply with the best thinkers and works in your field in the midst of a community of Christians devoted to loving God and each other through the rigorous pursuit of truth and beauty. The Symphony Orchestra is precisely such a community, and the four years that I spent performing in it were truly an indispensable part of my Wheaton experience."
-Cameron Harro, horn player, class of 2020
  • Orchestra rehearsal times are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:15 to 6:15pm
  • String sectionals (8-9 times per semester) are held Mondays, 5:00-6:15pm, and are led by faculty string coaches
  • Woodwind and percussion sectionals are on selected Wednesdays, 5:30-6:15pm
  • Brass sectionals are 10:00am to noon, two Saturdays per semester, and are led by CSO Assistant Principal Trumpeter, Mark Ridenour

Study with one of our outstanding private teachers, many of whom are very active performers in top chamber groups and orchestras in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Music of the Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Chicago, period instrument ensembles, and many other performance organizations.

Student tickets (usually $15) are available for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts (both at Symphony Center, Chicago, and for the three-concert series the CSO performs at Edman Chapel, Wheaton College) and the Lyric Opera. Students also get in free to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago with a student ID. Many of our students regularly avail themselves to these opportunities. Transportation is easy, with the train station just across the street from the southeast corner of campus.

2020 | 2021 Concert Series

Because of COVID-19 state of Illinois guidelines, Fall Semester concerts will likely consist of chamber orchestras and other ensembles (in order to ensure safe physical distancing among musicians), performing music from the vast and wonderful array of small orchestra pieces, from the 18th century up to the present (to be posted at a later date). Depending where the state is at the time of the concerts, relative to opening phases, each one will either be livestream only, or in-person and livestreamed. 

Saturday, October 3, 7:30
Conservatory Homecoming Concert, featuring WCSO

Saturday, November (exact date TBA), 7:30
Fall Concert II

Christmas Festival (online only)

Friday or Saturday, February (exact date TBA), 7:30
Winter Concert

Saturday, April 24, 7:30
Spring Concert

Audition Information

The Symphony Orchestra is open to all students, regardless of major.  While it is a semester course, it is assumed that the student is committed for the whole year. For the 2020-2021 school year auditions will be submitted virtually here.  Auditions consist of orchestral/band excerpts and a short (two minutes or less) portion from a solo of your choice unless a concerto/sonata/etude solo is already provided in the audition music. The links for each instrument audition excerpts are provided below. Wind players for orchestra and band use the same audition materials, but non-majors only need to play those excerpts marked with an asterisk. 

Instrumentation for the symphony orchestra: violins, violas, cellos, double basses, flutes (including piccolo), oboes (including English horn), clarinets (including bass clarinet), bassoons (including contrabassoon), horns, trumpets, tenor trombone, bass trombone, tuba, percussion, harp.  

Student musicians, I hope to meet you in the fall

Concert-goers, I look forward to seeing you at our concerts this season, or if that is not possible, know that you are watching us on wheaton.edu/streaming!

Daniel Sommerville, Director of Orchestral Activities.

daniel.sommerville@wheaton.edu

 

 

Audition Music for 2020-21 (All links are to PDFs)

Please contact Ms. Faye Seeman, harp instructor.

Faye Seeman faye.seeman@wheaton.edu

Symphony Orchestra Clips

Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5

View our Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra Gallery

Virtual Audition Guide

Best practices for filming your ensemble audition.

1. Find a quiet room without distractions to record your audition.
2. Set up your camera or phone 4 to 8 feet away from yourself.
3. Record with the landscape orientation, not portrait orientation.  We want to be able to see your technique and hear your playing.
4. If using a phone to record do not use the selfie camera.
5. You do not need to record in 4K, as the gain in video quality is not worth the massive increase in file size. On an iPhone, we recommend setting it to "HD • 30".
6. Avoid shooting in front of bright light or a window as you will appear too dark in the foreground.
7. Record your audition in one shot. Do not take multiple recordings and combine them.