Explorchestra is set to hold their upcoming fall semester concert, “Shades of Autumn: Music in Mountainview,” this Saturday, Nov. 6. Members in the student-run orchestra compose, conduct and play all original pieces of music. The group usually puts on an annual public concert for both the fall and spring semesters in order to showcase what music members have been working on throughout the semester.
The 38 members of the orchestra that will take part on Saturday will perform six pieces of music that were written by seven students. They are: “Progress and Success” by Brian Begelman, a senior majoring in biology, “Phoenix” by Chris DeDonato, a second-year graduate student studying adolescent mathematics education, “Tox Box” by Sarah Melo, a senior majoring in environmental science, “Switch the Channel” by Julian Drevet, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, “Sing Us a Song” by Nicholas Colucci, a senior majoring in mathematics and Zachary Sloan, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, and “Sunlight on a Broken Column” by Leif Haley, a junior double-majoring in music and psychology.
Sloan, president of Explorchestra, described the six pieces as encompassing elements from a wide array of genres in an email. While he emphasized that no one piece fits exactly into a single genre, he wrote that the range of the works that will be played as those with more classical baroque elements, to those with jazz and big band sounds, and pieces that focus on telling a story.
“That’s the great thing about Explorchestra,” Sloan wrote in an email. “Different composers have different influences they pull from, so we’re never limited to one genre, and there’s always going to be something new and exciting that no one has ever heard.”
This will be the first public performance by Explorchestra since 2019. Like many of the music-based clubs and organizations at BU, Explorchestra was heavily affected by the COVID-19 restrictions on campus during the last academic year. They had most recently planned and rehearsed for a show in the spring semester of 2020, which was ultimately canceled due to the pandemic.
Despite the ongoing challenges, the group has found ways to organize this long-awaited show with the COVID-19 precautions still in place. At a rehearsal this past Saturday, Sloan wrote that the group has had to switch from indoor to outdoor rehearsals to obey safety regulations during the ongoing pandemic. This meant that cold and inclement weather was a major concern for the club, and led them to decide to hold the fall concert earlier in November than in other years.
This shift in the schedule meant that they had to limit the number of pieces being performed in the show and the time which the orchestra had to practice them. As a result, the Explorchestra E-Board decided to open up the event to other musical groups on campus, with three student a cappella groups — No Strings Attached, Change of Tone and The Binghamton Treblemakers — joining the show.
The collaborative nature of this concert is new for the club and has been met with excitement and positive feedback by members. Many students are just as excited to be able to perform in public again. DeDonato has played alto saxophone with Explorchestra since the spring of 2017.
“This is the first performance we’re doing in two years, so it’s really exciting to be back,” DeDonato said. “It’s a club that means a lot to me, it’s a group of people that means a lot to me, and to be able to be back making music with them, not only doing a show but something different than what we’ve usually done. I think it’s a really awesome way to come back and I’m very excited about it.”
The schedule of the concert will feature No Strings Attached opening the show, followed by Change of Tone and The Binghamton Treblemakers. Each of the a cap
pella groups will perform two to three songs for about 10 minutes per set. Explorchestra will come on last and perform for about 30 minutes, for a total concert time of about an hour to an hour and a half.
Planning and coordinating the fall concert on a shorter time frame and with a new structure than in previous years wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and teamwork of the entire E-Board of Explorchestra, according to Sloan. While attending the concert is certainly a great way to show support for Explorchestra and the student musicians featured, the event is about more than just one club.
“Explorchesta is the main organizer, the host but not the star [of the event],” Sloan wrote. “The music is the star.”
“Shades of Autumn: Music in Mountainview” will be taking place Saturday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. in the amphitheater at Mountainview College, under the Appalachian Collegiate Center. The event will go on rain or shine. It is free to attend, and complimentary hot chocolate will be provided. To find more information about the event, visit Explorchestra’s Instagram page.