Campus News

View Year

Juniata Orchestra Combines with Altoona Symphony to Play 'Planets' in Concert

(Posted March 29, 2010)

Teresa Cheung, artistic director of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, will conduct a performance of Holst's "The Planets" featuring musicians from the Juniata College Orchestra and the Altoona Symphony Orchestra.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- In an unprecedented collaboration between the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and musicians from the Juniata College Orchestra, both groups will combine to perform Gustav Holst's "The Planets" at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 10 at the Mishler Theater in downtown Altoona.

Both ensembles will perform again the following day at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 11 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets for the Altoona concert are $30 for A seating and $20 for B seating, and $10 for children. Tickets for the concert at Juniata are $15 for adults; $10 for senior citizens; $5 for those under 18; and free for Juniata students with college ID. Tickets are available at the box office on the day of the concert or online at www.juniata.edu/asotickets.

"As musicians, education is a big part of what we do," says Teresa Cheung, artistic director of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. "I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for the Altoona Symphony Orchestra to be able to work with these very intelligent and hard-working students."

Nearly 50 Juniata students will perform with the Altoona ensemble. The concert marks the first time the Juniata Orchestra has performed with a community professional orchestra, according to James Latten, associate professor of music and conductor for the Juniata group.

"The chance to perform high quality literature side-by-side with professionals will be one of the highlights of our students' college careers. I believe they will be much more inclined to continue playing after college or attend concerts because, if orchestra wasn't already in their blood, it sure will be after this concert experience."
James Latten, associate professor of music and conductor of the Juniata Orchestra.

The concert is sponsored by Barry and Marlene Halbritter, both longtime supporters of Juniata College and the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. Barry Halbritter, a 1965 Juniata graduate, is a member of the Juniata board of trustees and president and owner of Midstate Tool & Supply. He also served on the board of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. Marlene Halbritter is a 1962 Juniata graduate.

"It means a great deal to have been selected to appear with the Altoona Symphony," says James Latten, associate professor of music and conductor of the Juniata Orchestra. "The chance to perform high quality literature side-by-side with professionals will be one of the highlights of our students' college careers. I believe they will be much more inclined to continue playing after college or attend concerts because, if orchestra wasn't already in their blood, it sure will be after this concert experience."

Both concerts will open with the Aaron Copland selection "Outdoor Overture," which was originally written in 1938 for a high school orchestra. Copland used jazz and folk influences in many of his works, including "Appalachian Spring," "Rodeo" and "Fanfare for the Common Man."

The second selection for the Altoona Symphony players in Altoona will be "Symphony No. 41" by Wolfgang Mozart. Known as the "Jupiter Symphony," it was the last symphony written by the composer.

The second selection for the two orchestras at the Juniata College concert April 11 will be "Romanian Folk Dances" by Romanian composer Bela Bartok. This selection honors the 70th anniversary of Bartok's 1940 piano recital at Juniata. Bartok was influenced by the folk music of the Balkans in many of his compositions and is considered to be one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.

The final selection for both concerts is "The Planets," a seven-movement orchestral suite written by Gustav Holst. Each movement is named after a planet and its corresponding deity from Roman mythology. The movements are: "Mars, the Bringer of War;" "Venus, the Bringer of Peace;" "Mercury, the Winged Messenger;" "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity;" "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age;" "Uranus, the Magician;" and "Neptune, the Mystic."

In the final movement, "Neptune," the Juniata College Women's Choir and the Arietta Women's Ensemble, based in State College, Pa., will perform.

"For this season, my goal is to explore the human experience through music," Cheung says. " 'The Planets' is a secret wish to reach beyond our own very contained and secluded world for something that is bigger than all of us. It is a perfect choice for the Altoona Symphony's wish to reach out to our community."

Holst, a native of England, wrote "The Planets" in 1915. Its otherworldly music is generally acknowledged to have influenced John Williams' score for "Star Wars."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.