A Musical Journey into New London: Bonding Amongst the Musical Minds of Connecticut College Students

A piece by Haydn, a splash of blue. Symphony No. 5, a dash of green. The final product, a visual representation of orchestral music. The music came to life upon a canvas as the orchestra unfolded elegant, trilly melodies, and an artist drew long brush strokes of color to bring to life the sounds that entranced the audience.

This past weekend, the Connecticut College Orchestra, Orchestration, and History of Western Music classes took a trip to see the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra perform live at the Garde Arts Center in downtown New London. For those of you who don’t know, the ECSO is a 75-plus member professional Symphony Orchestra based right in our backyard. They put on six subscription concerts per year, along with additional performances such as concerts in Mohegan Sun, and accompaniments with the Eastern Connecticut Ballet in “The Nutcracker.” As we are both members of the Connecticut College Orchestra, we attended the concert.

But, before the music classes attended the concert, we bonded over some Thai Food at Jasmine Thai in downtown New London. We were seated in front of tables with intricately folded purple napkins, and walls lined with colorful portraits and flower decorations. Flute music weaved in and out of the restaurant atmosphere under the hum of lively conversation. The menu for that night was buffet style: rice paper tofu rolls, spring rolls with sauce, pad thai, fried rice, white rice, and for dessert, a layered rainbow crêpe cake with frosting and candy pearls.

After dinner, we headed to the Garde Arts Center (which was packed!). We all sat together in balcony seats. The venue itself was intricately designed with beautiful architecture. The concert started at 8:00 pm and lasted for roughly two hours. The program of the night is pictured in the image below:

During the first piece, an artist was on stage painting a visual representation of the musical repertoire. The final painting is going to be auctioned off at a later date, but it was interesting to watch the artist use different colors as the music unfolded. This program also featured the 2017 ECSO Instrumental Competition Winner.  It was astounding how the cello soloist had committed to memory all of the notes and rhythms, while performing with an immense amount of grandeur. Intermission was brief, and then was followed by a sudden switch in mood. The mystical repertoire transitioned into a deeper, heavier melody. There was a lot of dissonance within the various movements, which added definition and character.

After the concert, we passed through a small reception of cookies and drinks. It was very crowded so we couldn’t spend too long admiring the desserts. But all in all, the concert was a huge success and we left artistically refreshed and inspired to “fine tune” and improve our musical endeavors.