The University Symphony Orchestra presented their audience with an “Invitation to Dance” this Saturday night, at its free concert held in the Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center.

This performance consisted of 72 student players, each with instruments ranging from oboe and trombone to cello and double bass.

The program began at 3 p.m. with an introduction by Timothy Perry, director of graduate studies of the music department and conductor. Before the performance, Perry gave a brief background on the history of the waltz as a genre. This dance was the inspiration for the first, and titular, piece of the program: “Invitation to the Dance.” The piece was originally composed by Carl Maria von Weber and adapted by Hector Berlioz.

The song kept the audience in anticipation as it started soft, then developed into a full orchestra swell of music.
The symphony then transitioned into the second piece “Dance Suite,” composed by Bela Bartok. Perry conducted the musicians through the five movements of the piece: “Moderato: Ritornello,” “Allegro molto: Ritornello,” “Allegro vivace,” “Molto tranquillo: Ritornello,” “Comodo” and “Finale: Allegro.” This piece was more suspenseful than the first, with a more haunting tone to the melody, and constantly changing movements.

After reassembling post intermission, the orchestra began their next and final piece, “Appalachian Spring (Ballet for Martha).” Written by composer Aaron Copland, this soft, synchronous piece connected all three of the songs and acted as the conclusion to the concert.

Although now a prominent force, the orchestra started with humble beginnings in the early 1950s with only six string musicians. However, since Perry began conducting in 1986, he has guided the orchestra through performances in Greece, Ireland and Scotland.

Throughout the concert, it was evident the amount of work that went into preparing for the show. The musicians rehearsed twice a week, for a total of 3 1/2 hours.

Violist Christina Tran, a freshman majoring in English and orchestra member, shared that although membership in the orchestra is time-consuming, it is a worthwhile experience.

“It’s enjoyable playing with people who [have] other majors but still care about music,” she said.