San Juan College Orchestra plans ambitious program for Friday's performance
Director Teun Fetz says material will span several composers, eras
FARMINGTON — By his own admission, Teun Fetz, the director of instrumental music at San Juan College, doesn't make it easy on his performers when he goes about the selecting the music for the concerts by the many groups he oversees at the school.
That probably goes double for the program he chose for Friday night's performance by the San Juan College Orchestra.
"We've got a lot of great classical music planned," he said. "This may be the most challenging repertoire we've done since I've been here."
The music isn't just technically difficult, Fetz noted. It also spans several eras — the Renaissance, the Romantic period and the 20th century — while showcasing the work of French, Italian, Russian and Finnish composers. On top of that, virtually every piece will highlight a specific section of the orchestra — strings on this piece, woodwinds on that one, brass on another.
"It's a cross section. Every concert I do is a hodgepodge of music," Fetz said. "But I feel like every piece in this concert, everyone in the audience will connect with and recognize."
Fetz will direct a group of 40-plus musicians that ranges from students to community members who perform with the San Juan Symphony. Many of those more experienced players will deliver solos throughout Friday's concert, including violinist and concertmaster Cathy Pope on "Adagio" by Tomaso Albinoni, while "Flower Duet" from the opera "Lakme" by Leo Delibes, which Fetz described as a slower, beautiful piece, will feature the strings section exclusively.
"Bacchanale" from the opera "Samson and Delilah" by Camille Saint-Saens will feature what Fetz calls his "all-star brass section."
"It's a pretty recognizable piece, and it's got a nice dance feel to it," he said.
The woodwind players will get their chance to shine on "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius, and Alex Olivas will be the featured soloist during a performance of "L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2," a four-movement piece by Georges Bizet.
Also on the program is "Overture to the Barber of Seville" by Gioachino Rossini, which Fetz said should be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon, and "Pavanne" by Gabriel Faure, which will feature fluist Tabatha Platero.
"It's a lovely piece, very smooth and soothing," Fetz said.
In a bit of a departure from the rest of the program, a foursome made up of Cathy Pope on violin, Joe Pope on viola, Edie Farm on piano and Fetz on percussion will deliver a performance of the calypso tune "Yellow Bird" by Thomas Graf.
Fetz said the timing of the concert provided some difficulty, coming shortly after the performance of San Juan College's spring musical production of "Oliver!" Many of the musicians who performed in the orchestra for that show are part of this group, and that didn't allow them much time to turn their attention from one project to the other.
"It's been a push, but I think it's coming together pretty good," Fetz said, noting that the full orchestra typically only gets together on Monday nights to rehearse. But he is pleased with the way his musicians have responded to a less-than-ideal situation.
"It shows the maturity of the group, that they can come together once a week and perform this music at a high level," he said.
Friday's concert takes place at 7 p.m. in the Henderson Fine Arts Performance Hall on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors at sanjuancollege.edu/silhouette. Call 505-566-3430.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610.