MSJC Student/Community Orchestra holds spring concert

Students now receive college credit for orchestra membership

Photos by Dennis Fletcher
The MSJC Student and Community Orchestra.

■ By Dennis Fletcher / Contributed

Mt. San Jacinto College’s Student and Community Orchestra recently treated the community to its spring concert loaded with lots of good listening. The for-college credit section of the orchestra has been recently relaunched so that students playing in the orchestra now earn college credits for their participation.
Dr. Vanessa Sheldon, the college’s new Director of the Music Department, has restored the music curricula at the college which was absent for about 12 years. Students now can major in music and are able to receive college credit for performing in the orchestra.
Dr. Sheldon pulled together musicians from full-time students plus members of the community to launch the new MSJC Student and Community Orchestra in time for the traditional college spring concert. Attendees commented that members of the orchestra can be proud of the quality music delivered to the community.
The audience was treated to five well-known pieces by the 20-piece orchestra:

The orchestra’s cello and bass sections.

• Theme and Variations, from the “Trout” Piano Quintet in A Major, by Franz Schubert
• Divertimento III for String Orchestra, by Leopold Mozart
• Three Outdoor Sketches: Work Song, Twilight, Men and Machines, by Brendan McBrien
• Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, by Gustav Mahler
• “Egmont” Overture, by Ludwig van Beethoven

In 1809, besides the overture for Egmont, Beethoven wrote a set of incidental disconnected music pieces for the play of the same name by German writer and composer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The music debuted at the time of the play’s revival at the Burgtheater of Vienna. The play is a political manifesto about the life and heroic deeds of Lamoral, Count of Egmont in Flanders against oppression by the despotic Duke of Albe of Spain. At the time it was written, it served as Beethoven’s protest against Napoleon Bonaparte crowning himself Emperor in 1804. Later, the Overture became the inspiration and anthem of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956.

Conductor Dr. Vanessa Sheldon with the audience.

The conductor for four of the pieces presented by the community orchestra was Dr. Vanessa Sheldon. For the Mahler piece, oboist Ms. Sydne Sullivan conducted the orchestra and Dr. Sheldon played the harp.
Following the concert, Dr. Sheldon met members of the audience at the front of the stage to enter into a discussion about the evening’s program. Members of the cello and bass sections sat for a photo.
The community orchestra at MSJC has been in existence for over 25 years. A fall concert is planned for late October or November.
For more information, see the MSJC Performing Arts section of the college website: or contact Dr. Vanessa Sheldon,

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