Symphony Orchestra hosts music competition

Imani Muhammad

On Saturday, Nov. 5, Augustana’s Symphony Orchestra hosted ‘The Student Concerto Competition’ where nine performers play a musical piece in hopes to win 1 of the 2 spots performing with Augustana’s Symphony Orchestra for the Winter Concert which will be held on March 19, 2020.

The winners of this year’s competition were junior Luke McMillan, a euphonium player and senior Evan Sammons, an alto saxophone player.

The ‘Student Concerto Competition’ program started three years ago, according to Dr. Daniel Chetel, a music professor and director of Augustana’s Symphony Orchestra.

“I wanted to create a place for musically driven students to have a motivational experience,” Chetel said.

This is why the ‘Student Concerto Competition’ is not exclusively for those involved in the symphonic band but is open to all students who have a passion for performing music.

One of the first competitors, senior Blake Iscra, has a music scholarship and is a participant of ‘Augustana’s Choir.’ Iscra performed an opera piece.

Iscra said that preparing for the competition was rather convenient as he was already working on his piece for voice practice when his voice coach brought up entering the competition.

This competition was Iscra’s first time doing a solo piece for music. He said that because it was his last year at Augustana, he joined the competition to be more involved with the musical productions on campus.

Another competitor was sophomore Russell Schmidt who also participates in the ‘Symphony Orchestra.’ Schmidt performed a piano piece. Schmidt said that it was his second year preparing a piece for the concerto competition, and that he’d been preparing this year’s piece since April.

Schmidt also said that performing this piano piece was his opportunity to present something that both the audience and judges would enjoy listening to.

Ariela Policastro, a sophomore and participant in ‘Augustana’s Choir’ and ‘Chamber Singers’ was another competitor.  Policastro performed an opera piece. Policastro said that she had been preparing for her performance since last year, spring term.

“Joining the competition was a great way to showcase what I’ve been working on and putting so much of my time into,” Policastro said.

Policastro also said she recommends all types of music performers participate in the competition since it’s an opportunity to receive constructive feedback.