The Keene State College Guitar Orchestra performance filled the Alumni Recital Hall with the sounds of classical composers like Bach, Mozart and Bachianas on Wednesday night, April 16, in the Redfern Arts Center.
The orchestra combines cultural music influence and classical works played on guitars, as expressed by performers and concert attendees. The pieces performed originate from Germany, Spain, France, Brazil and Japan, according to the play bill. Attendee of the performance, Laurie Fleischman, mother of guitarist Daniel Fleischman, explained how director and KSC Music Professor Jose Lezcano combines classical pieces from all over the world.
“It was wonderful. Professor Lezcano does a wonderful job exposing the students to different types of music. It’s very complex and interesting to hear,” Fleischman said. The orchestra consisted of nine KSC students on guitars, directed by Lezcano, who is also the coordinator of the guitar program at KSC. Lezcano is a two-time Grammy-nominated composer and guitarist, according to the program playbill provided to the audience by the music department at KSC.
The playbill also noted he has performed with orchestras all over Latin America and the U.S. and his work has been played by notable classical musicians like William Bennett and Stephen Aron. Lezcano spoke about the ensemble’s performance Wednesday with pride. “It went very well,” Lezcano said. “The performance went better than any rehearsal we’ve had and I was very pleased about that,” he continued.
He explained that students join the Guitar Orchestra with a variety of skill levels and backgrounds in music. Some are beginners learning to read music and others are more advanced. “It’s very gratifying to me to see the progress they have made this semester,” Lezcano said. Many students play rock music on their guitars, but Lezcano said the transition to classical is a smooth one. “The kids enjoy playing and it challenges them and it reaches the audience,” Lezcano said.
First-time attendee of the ensemble’s performances, Amanda Balsamo, a freshman and nursing major, echoed Fleischman’s statement. “I actually enjoyed it. I liked how it was different music from all around the world and it was very tasteful,” Balsamo said.
Balsamo also commented, “I really liked the singing piece, too.”
Soprano soloist and KSC student Lauren Weiner received a roar of applause after her performance of Gallito: Pasodoble Flamenco, composed by Santiago Lopez. Weiner stepped on stage in a pink dress with a bow in her hair. Much to audience members’ like Balsamo’s surprise, Weiner belted out singing operatically in Spanish.
As explained at the performance, Weiner won the 2012-13 KSC Vocalist of the Year award, and placed third in the Granite State National Association of Teachers Singing competition, held at University of New Hampshire Durham.
Recently, she was inducted into the KSC music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda.
This summer she is participating in the Dorset Opera Festival in England, as mentioned in the playbill. The performance was a little less than an hour-and-a-half with a half-full house. It was the last performance with the ensemble for seniors Jordan Chase and Steven Lenhard.
Lenhard is a music technology major and has been playing guitar for 14 years.
He says he enjoys the instrument because, “It’s just a fun instrument and it covers so many genres,” Lenhard said. Lenhard said he enjoys playing for KSC students and the Keene community. “I love the response, it makes me want to play more. It’s always an uplifting experience,” Lenhard said.
Hannah Sundell can be contacted by firstname.lastname@example.org