By Rahat Hossen
With the theme “all creatures great and small,” the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s 89th season ended April 7 at Thiel College’s Passavant Center. All music it played was animal related.
The orchestra played 16 pieces of music. These were “Entrance of the Gladiators,” “Fight of the Bumblebee,” “Baby Elephant Walk,” “The Pink Panther,” “Dancing Snakes” and more. The first musical composition was “Entrance of The Gladiators” which is originally composed by Czech composer Julius Fucik. Then the Greenville Symphony played, “The Swan from Carnival of The Animals,” composed by Camille Saint-Saens.
The orchestra then played “Baby Elephant Walk,” composed by Henry Mancini. Director Michael Gelfand told audience members that they would have to use their imaginations during the “The Exotic Butterflies” music. The audience was asked to make animal noises to participate in two pieces.
The GSO awarded a scholarship during concert to Brendan McEvoy, a senior at Mathews High School in Vienna. He has performed in the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
Gelfand thanked Judy Eckler of Greenville, an outgoing 20-year member (and 11-year chair) of the GSO board of directors. He said that she is a leader in the truest sense of the word. She has shown great commitment, a sense of humor, calmness in the face of difficult challenges, the ability to delegate, rally and encourage support and enthusiasm, bravery and courage in maintain high standards, he said. Gelfand added that she has great amounts of sincerity, patience, understanding and humility.
The concert’s sponsors were Allstate, St. Paul’s, Thiel College and UPMC.
Five animal shelters in Mercer County received donations from the concert’s ticket sales: Animal Advocacy of Mercer County, Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, Grove City Area Pet Rescue, Tails of Hope and Strayhaven Animal Shelter.
Two professors from Thiel College played in the Orchestra for this concert: Professor Brian Bradshaw played saxophone, and Professor Andy Erb played trumpet.
Gelfand was finishing his sixteenth season as a music director/conductor in the Greenville symphony. He received his bachelor of music degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and his Master of Music degree from Cleveland Institute of Music (CCM) in cello and conducting, then his doctorate from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).