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College Symphony Orchestra Alumni Concert a featured event on Homecoming Weekend
Thursday, July 14, 2016

As Fredonia gears up for the much-anticipated Homecoming Weekend this weekend, Oct. 21 to 23, the School of Music is preparing to welcome a special group of alumni who are returning for a reunion concert unlike any other in recent memory, the College Symphony Orchestra Alumni Concert.

The event, free and open to the public, is slated for Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

"The main purpose of this reunion concert is to reconnect with alumni," commented David Rudge, director of Orchestras at Fredonia and conductor for the alumni performance that will feature 100-plus Fredonia music alumni. "The orchestra becomes a community during their student years, and when people leave Fredonia, they seem to miss the experience they had when playing in the ensemble. It will be more than just a reunion party, it will be another shared performance endeavor, which is always an 'event' for people."

After launching a Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra Alumni Facebook group about a year ago, more than 400 people had joined the page within two days. The momentum continued, and the idea of creating an event for alumni to reunite and perform together was born. Dr. Rudge has worked on the project for months with alumnus Carl Lam, '14, who also serves on the Fredonia Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Patty Feraldi, director of the Office of Alumni Affairs.

"It's been a work in progress, contacting alumni from a span of five decades, coordinating music distribution, developing a complete and balanced roster, and working on behind-the-scenes tasks to make the concert happen," said Mr. Lam, a self-described "people person." "I'm so excited to meet the alumni who I have never met before," he said. "I think we all share a common thread of our love for Fredonia and it will be great to see so many people coming back for the same reason - making music together."

Rudge pointed out how complimentary it has been to learn that so many alumni are coming back for the event (there are currently 110 on the roster), which was originally booked in the Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall but was later moved to King Concert Hall to accommodate the size of the ensemble.

"I absolutely love planning large scale events," said Lam, "but I would best describe the process as controlled chaos. The initial stages of planning involved reconnecting with alumni in our Facebook group and sifting through 18 years of programs to find these folks. We've had a number of moments where things have gone awry with people having other obligations during the weekend; however, that's to be expected with any event of this size."

Next year marks Rudge's 20th year at Fredonia, and there are people returning who were here during his first year. When asked what he is most looking forward to about the weekend, Rudge remarked enthusiastically, "Seeing everyone! I also look forward to making music with these people," he added, "as they are now experienced musicians and professional performers. That’s always a pleasure."

The task of putting together a program that worked with those who signed up to play was a feat in itself. "Not an easy puzzle to solve," said Rudge, "but I think we have a winning program of crowd pleasers." The program includes Berlioz's “Roman Carnival Overture,” Tchaikovsky's “Capriccio Italien,” Verdi's Overture to “Nabucco,” Saint-Saëns' "Bacchanale" from Samson et Dalilia, and Stravinsky's "Berceuse and Finale" from “The Firebird.”

"It’s been a joy to work with Carl," Rudge said. "He has been behind this project 100 percent and has given an enormous amount of time and energy to all the invitations, logistics and follow up. It couldn’t have been done without him."

Lam invites all alumni of the College Symphony Orchestra to join the Facebook group, "Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra Alumni."

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