Musicians lined the stage engaging in a delicate surgery, crafting a wall of sound, filled with soft lows and intense highs, moving toward and impacting the audience with a myriad of feelings.
A celebration of diversity took place through music.
The Northwest Symphony Orchestra, directed by Robert Pippin, held its “A Musical Celebration of Diversity” performance, featuring violinist extraordinaire Richmond Punch, Feb. 12. at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.
The performance encapsulated and sung to the audience in an emotion-evoking way.
Audience member Michele Moon expressed how the show left her feeling.
“It was very beautiful and spiritual. There was a lot of energy as well and excitement and passion and feeling. It was just very moving,” Moon said. “And I loved the fact that the students were able to come in and play [with Mr. Punch] as well. Just marvelous.”
Vernon Akers, a parent of a student in the symphony orchestra, expressed a similar outlook.
“I enjoyed it very much,” Akers said. “It was awesome. The instruments all played together, and it was beautifully, beautifully put together.”
Senior principal trumpet player Kaila Stigler, majoring in dietetics and minoring in music, shared how much work went into preparing for the concert.
“A lot [of work]. A lot of makeup rehearsals because of the snow days. We [the wind section] rehearse once a week, but technically we [the whole ensemble] rehearse twice a week,” Stigler said. “He [Dr. Pippin] really likes to break it down and get into the nitty-gritty. And if he feels like we need more rehearsals, then we’ll do more rehearsals. Lots of sectionals. Lots of work.”
Punch, holding a masters from Yale and bachelors from Julliard in music, echoed Stigler’s emphasis on hard work.
“From the whole planning of this ‘till the concert is a lot of preparation, rehearsals and details. And you have to stick to it no matter what you’re doing, you gotta stick to it,” Punch said. “And that’s how this can be accomplished, ‘cause it didn’t start like this, you know. But it sure as heck finished like this.”
Alongside hard work, both students and Punch felt a unique dynamic while performing together.
“Sometimes I wonder what he thinks of us. I’ve played with the high school I graduated from and there’s a big difference from playing with the high school and playing with the college. So I’m a little intimidated. I really want it to be really good,” Stigler said. “At the same time, listening to him perform is like, ‘wow.’ I’m so inspired to be as good as he is one day.”
Punch also shared how the dynamic felt from his side.
“Just to be in this environment again. The electricity of college students, you know, what they do. They’re practicing, learning that life journey. It’s amazing,” Punch said. “And this school is a great representation of that experience. More people should be here at Northwest Missouri State University.”
Despite coming from different perspectives, both the students and Punch were united behind their desire to share a message with the audience through their music.
“I hope they heard different style pieces and learned to love them ’cause if you’re not a music major or you’re not really deep into music, you never really hear music like that,” Stigler said. “I hope they just feel a little inspired to maybe look a little deeper into the classics.”
Punch echoed a similar sentiment.
“Always be creative. Be creative to the max. Have fun,” Punch said. “If you can dance like I’m dancing while playing the violin, while sitting at a desk twiddling your fingers, then do so. If the numbers in your accounting dance off of the computer, if your stories dance when you write them and edit them … whatever you do, just have fun. [That’s] the best thing you can take from this concert.”