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Orchestra hits high note at the Hall

The Seton Hall University Chamber Orchestra, in just its second semester of existence, had the unique opportunity to play in a workshop with the world-famous Chamber Orchestra Kremlin last Thursday.

"Having a professional orchestra come and conduct a workshop with us was such a unique and amazing experience," orchestra member and French horn player Jennifer Todd said. "We're a very young orchestra and to already have this opportunity is mind-blowing."

The Arts Council had already scheduled the Chamber Orchestra to perform Thursday night at the South Orange Performing Arts Center when the Department of Music organized the workshop for the students of the Chamber Orchestra.

Coordinated through Murray Colosimo, director of the Chamber Orchestra, the workshop became a reality.

"It was positively thrilling to watch and hear our Seton Hall musicians play right alongside of these seasoned professional musicians from Russia, and to be conducted by their director, Misha Rachlevsky," Dena Levine, head of the Music Department, said.

Orchestra director Murray Colosimo added that Rachlevsky was very impressed with the orchestra students. The Chamber Orchestra is "the ‘best kept secret' on campus," Colosimo said.

Although only in its second semester, Seton Hall's orchestra is growing quickly. All students, whether in the music program or not, can audition to join the orchestra.

Levine said students who play orchestral instruments have not had an opportunity to participate in a classical concert ensemble for a long time.

The orchestra is "proving to be a valuable asset in recruitment of undergraduates to the university, as many students look for colleges which feature strong ensembles which support their connection to music during the college years," Levine said.

Student musicians in the orchestra said they gained a lot from the workshop with the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin.

"In this case it was particularly helpful because we are a very new group, and I hope that the university would be willing to fund more experiences like this," junior saxophonist Jessica Noto said. "It was also a very good way to open ourselves up to the university community as a whole and to gain more recognition."

Musicians in the Kremlin Orchestra filled out the Chamber Orchestra, and as trumpet player Rachel Rosenstrock said, "It let us know what a full orchestra would sound like."

"It's been a challenge, playing repertoire that is at times created for a much larger ensemble," violist Benjamin Emmel said.

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Students were not only able to play with the Kremlin Orchestra; many also attended the concert that evening.

"The playing ability of the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin musicians was astounding," Todd said. "I am looking forward to the future of our orchestra here at Seton Hall, and I hope that one day it will be something the whole campus is proud of."

Students said they hope that playing with the Kremlin Orchestra is just the first of many similar opportunities to come, and wish more students would take advantage of the Chamber Orchestra here at Seton Hall.

The orchestra's next performance is their Winter Concert on Dec. 6.
Students interested in joining the orchestra should contact Colosimo.

"I know there are a lot of us at Seton Hall that have played an instrument for a long time but couldn't find a way for our schedules to fit a class, pep-band, jazz band or some of the other opportunities," orchestra member Henry LaGue said. "I hope the other Setonians with instrumental background will take advantage of this great opportunity and we will continue to grow."

Katherine O'Brien can be reached at


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