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Concert to feature students and movie-themed pieces

Lily Rainwater is the concertmaster and featured soloist in the upcoming University of North Georgia's Department of Music's annual orchestra concert. Rainwater is a senior majoring in chemistry from Dahlonega, Georgia.

Most student musicians have experienced the highs and lows of performing solo at a recital. Playing a piece accompanied by an orchestra in front of an audience is a rarity.

Five University of North Georgia (UNG) students will experience this opportunity during the Department of Music's annual orchestra concert. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Shott Auditorium on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus.

Featured student musicians will be cellists Jordan Dean and Payton Chan, saxophonist Preston Miller, euphonium player Nick DiPaola, and violinist Lily Rainwater, who is also the concertmaster.

"I've had solos before, but this is the first time I've had a solo for an entire piece," said Rainwater, a senior majoring in chemistry from Dahlonega, Georgia. "I'm really excited about it, and it's really fun."

Dr. Esther Morgan-Ellis, assistant professor of music at UNG, pointed out most of these students are not music majors. Rainwater is a prime example, especially since she has played with the orchestra for the past eight years.

"Ever since she was in high school, she has played in UNG's orchestra," Morgan-Ellis said. "She really is an exceptional violinist and has done great things for the ensemble, which is why I wanted to feature her."

Morgan-Ellis explained she selected the students who will be the soloists in the orchestra concert. Next year, she hopes to change that. She wants to turn the concert into a concerto competition.


University of North Georgia (UNG) student musicians will play two movie music collages, including a medley from the Disney film "Pirates of the Caribbean," at the upcoming orchestra concert Thursday, April 19, in the Shott Auditorium on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

In a concerto competition, any UNG student who has a piece accompanied by an orchestra or band will be able to try out for the concert. A jury of faculty members will select a few winners, which could help any musician in their future endeavors.

"It's pretty typical for schools of music to have a concerto competition where students compete to be featured with the orchestra. We've not had that here," she said, adding the contest would benefit students. "To win a competition is valuable for students who apply to graduate school or any other interests they are pursuing. And it's a nice thing to count on a resume."

Dr. Benjamin Schoening, chair of the Department of Music, agrees.

"I think the idea of the spring orchestra concert becoming a concerto competition is wonderful," said Schoening, associate professor of music. "We are always looking for ways to further and better the education our students receive.  A competition of this nature is one of the ways we can help further that educational experience."

Student musicians are looking forward to the upcoming orchestra concert because of the pieces selected — two movie music collages. One is a medley from the Disney film "Pirates of the Caribbean." The second is a piece called "River Flows in You" from one of the "Twilight" trilogy films.

"It's great music and fun to play," Morgan-Ellis said, indicating her students need some fun music to play after learning more serious pieces earlier in the semester. "We had a long and difficult program in February. It snowed the second week of school, and we lost that second week of rehearsal. I kept them over for about 30 minutes for remaining rehearsals to make up for lost time. It was long and exhausting. So they deserve to have some fun with this one."

UNG orchestra in concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19
Where: Shott Auditorium on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus
Cost: Free
Featured musicians:

  • Violinist Lily Rainwater playing Antonio Vivaldi's "Winter" concerto from "Four Seasons" and "Meditations" from "Thais"
  • Cellists Jordan Dean and Payton Chan performing Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Cellos
  • Euphonium player Nick DiPaola and saxophonist Preston Miller presenting "Gabriel's Oboe," composed by Ennio Morricone and arranged by UNG professor Adam Frey

Other upcoming music concerts

  • Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia
  • University of North Georgia Patriot Choir Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, in Gloria Shott Performance Hall
  • UNG Music Department collage pops concert "Music of the Movies" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in Price Memorial Gym on UNG's Dahlonega Campus
  • Choral Explosion No. 26 at 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, 2018, at Cumming First United Methodist Church in Cumming, Georgia
  • Jazz Band concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in the Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus
  • Chamber Orchestra, Brass Choir and Low Brass Ensemble concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in Ed Cabell Theatre lobby on UNG's Gainesville Campus.
  • Jazz Band concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in Shott Performance Hall on UNG's Dahlonega Campus

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