The Delbarton Abbey Orchestra: Winter Concert Recap and Performer’s Perspective

Yajur Sriraman, Arts Section Editor

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The Delbarton Abbey Orchestra’s winter concert was a huge success, bringing visitors from near and afar to enjoy an afternoon of music. The orchestra was represented by Delbarton students Nicholas Brancatella (violin ’17), James Monahan (violin ’19), Yajur Sriraman (french horn ’19) and Andrew Madonna (bass ’20). Led by conductor Norma Davis, the orchestra performed 5 renowned musical compositions: “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius, “Die Fledermaus Overture” by Johann Strauss, “Symphony No. 8” (the “Unfinished Symphony”) by Schubert, Elgar’s “Violin Concerto”, and a contemporary piece, “Lyric Metal” by Brian Balmages. The orchestra, with so few Delbarton students, often goes unnoticed when in discussion of the arts. I got the chance to hear from Delbarton student and violin extraordinaire, James Monahan. He had this to say about his orchestra experience:

“Some might not guess it, but I do play the violin and I find it a life-impacting experience. The Orchestra meets every Wednesday for two hours and those two hours are the quickest of my life. Being privileged enough to be a section leader, I get to hear and take in all the parts as they come to form a harmonious and unique sound to the ear. Not only do I find playing the violin a wonderful experience, I also get to meet many new people whom I have bonded with over the last two years. Sadly, there is a lack of participation from Delbarton students and we only have three string players, but through Orchestra I have created strong friendships with the other two Delbarton members as well as kids from all over Morris County. While several hours of practicing are required on the road to the concert, when everybody comes together, it sounds like we read Beethoven or Bach’s minds and knew exactly what they wanted. This past concert was an extraordinary experience for me. I was not only privileged enough to be a section leader, but I had the privilege to play with the brass and woodwind instruments who truly made our pieces come together. I think that every concert, I seem to have more fun and grow as a player as I get to play for my family and for all my brothers in attendance. There is nothing else that I would rather do on a Sunday afternoon than play for my brothers.”

As a member of the Abbey Orchestra myself, I can relate to these feelings that James describes–that exhilarating rush of energy when playing a perfect chord, the satisfying feeling of completing a successful concert, and the relationships and bonds created within a group of students both from near and afar. The Abbey Orchestra is Delbarton’s hidden treasure chest, but four times a year, it reveals it’s glistening jewels through its concert repertoire. Be sure to support the Delbarton Arts program and the Abbey Orchestra during the Spring Concert–the final concert of the year! Details will follow closer to the event.

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