Southeastern Chamber Orchestra wraps up its season

Associate Professor of Voice Dr. Alissa Mercurio Rowe joined the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra in its last performance of the season. Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion’s Roar

The Southeastern Chamber Orchestra performed its “German Baroque Masters” concert to finish this season’s performances.

The event featured music by Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel in its performance on May 3 in Pottle Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

Orchestra Director Dr. Victor Correa-Cruz gave his thoughts on the concert.

“It went well,” said Correa-Cruz. “I think it is a very nice program. Baroque music is very truthful and has a lot of energy. I think for young students, the ones I’m working with, it works perfectly. We had the luxury of having Dr. Rowe singing with us some arias. Overall, I’m satisfied, and the audience appreciated it. I’m glad we did this.” 

The event opened with “Concerto Grossi Op. 6” by Handel followed by “Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D minor” by Bach.

Correa-Cruz was pleased with the audience that came to appreciate the orchestra’s effort. He looks forward to bringing more attendees to the performances and to make the concerts a part of the Hammond community.

“You can always have more,” said Correa-Cruz. “We’re building the program. So far, the people that came supported us. In the future, we have to reach more people and make our concert a part of Hammond tradition and culture. That takes time. I’m satisfied by the audience and the people who appreciate music. I think there are many more in Hammond or elsewhere that could benefit from coming and listening to beautiful music that we play. I’m hoping that in future things will change.”

According to Correa-Cruz, the orchestra was formed in a class with a set schedule where the performers went over all the pieces. He described the challenges faced during practice.

“The music is very exposed because it is very transparent,” said Correa-Cruz. “Intonation, articulation, it has to be very clear. I think it is very challenging overall. It is very easy to listen to it, but it’s difficult to play. We have to show the freshness of the music, and behind that, there’s a lot of work.”

Correa-Cruz described the progression of the orchestra, which he had led since October of last year. 

“The orchestra was a smaller project,” said Correa-Cruz. “Now, we’re trying to expand into a symphony orchestra. We have done some symphonic concerts before. This last concert was chamber music. It’s a smaller orchestra with strings and harpsichord. We’re trying to cover everything from smaller to bigger formats.”

Correa-Cruz also shared the recent accomplishments of the orchestra.

“There is a festival in Philadelphia that is recognizing youth orchestra around the country,” said Correa-Cruz. “They had some reports from people that listen to us, and they named us ‘Collegiate Program of the Month’ for April. It’s something very nice when you’re recognized.”

With the season coming to a close, Correa-Cruz gave a preview of his plans for next season. 

“We have some big programs,” said Correa-Cruz. “We have some collaboration with some singers. We have guests, soloists and conductors coming in next year. We’ll make sure we have a stable system, at least two concerts a semester.”