The Glendale College Community Orchestra Brings the Classics to Life

El Vaquero Staff Writer and Ramela Isagholian

Loud applause filled the auditorium May 21 as the Glendale College Community Orchestra presented a public performance culminating months of rigorous practice.

The orchestra is made up of instrumentalists from throughout Los Angeles County, combined with students from the music department.
It is a full orchestra with complete woodwind, brass, percussion and string sections.

The GCC orchestra played four musical compositions and a full symphony under the direction of Dr. Theodore Stern.
The first number was written by English composer Gustav Holst. “Jupiter,” from his seven-movement orchestral suite, “The Planets,” was written in 1916.

The audience responded with enjoyment and appreciation.
The second piece was “Nimrod” from the “Enigma” variations, written in 1899 by Edward Elgar, also an English composer.

As Stern explained, Elgar composed a theme with 14 variations, each variation identifying one of his family members or friends, signified by the initials of their names.

Stern said the Enigma Variations have been a puzzle for musicians and music historians for the last hundred years, who have been trying to figure out the identity of each person from this piece.
“Nimrod variation number nine,” piece presented by the orchestra, is the most famous of the series. Nimrod was the nickname of August Johannes Jaeger, a family friend of the Elgars.

The next piece was “Romance for Viola and Orchestra,” composed by Max Bruch, a German composer, in 1911.

According to Stern, “Bruch’s ‘Romance for Viola and Orchestra’ draws inspiration from the two romances Beethoven wrote for violin and orchestra a century earlier.”

This particular piece was performed by the orchestra and guest soloist Dr. Patrick Rosalez., who performs regularly with the Mozart Classical Chamber Orchestra and the Riverside Philharmonic, among others.

The last piece performed was the “Symphony No. 8 in G Major,” written by Antonin Dvorak, a Bohemian composer, in 1888.

This symphony contains four movements and, according to Stern, “Dvorak’s deep longing for an independent country of his own can be seen in each piece of his compositions.”

Stern is a GCC professor who teaches music history, music appreciation and music fundamentals, and has been conducting the orchestra since 1981.

“The GCC Orchestra musicians put their 120 percent [into the performance] and are practicing very hard,” said Stern.
Stela Fejtek, a GCC staff member who was present at the concert, called the orchestra an “incredible group of musicians who are not only talented individuals but are playing with all their emotions and hearts.”

Fejtek, who has also participated at the study abroad program to Prague, said, “Ted’s knowledge of music is amazing and he has a wonderful teaching method.”

Among the audiences, some had never experienced a symphony orchestra concert before. For student Anja Korhill, “this was a great experience that [she is] never going to forget.”