On Thursday, October 24, the Grand Valley State University Symphony Orchestra presented its annual performance in conjunction with the Grandville High School Symphony Orchestra. The Grand Valley Symphony Side-by-Side concert started at 8 p.m. at Grandville High School.
The GVSU Symphony Orchestra, led by GVSU professor Henry Duitman, performed works by composers Franz Schubert, Bedrich Smetana and Edward German. The GVSU Symphony Orchestra collaborated with the Grandville Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Bridges, to perform a piece entitled “French Military March ”by Camille Saint-Saëns.
The two schools have been collaborating on this annual concert for 11 years and plan to continue doing so in the future. Duitman said the two orchestras first collaborated and continue to do so because it is “an educational endeavor for both our students and the local high school students.”
The Side-by-Side concert was instituted by Duitman. The two conductors had worked together in the past, which prompted Duitman to call Bridges and the two agreed to bring their orchestras together for a joint concert. They have continued to do so ever since.
In preparation for the concert, Duitman said that in addition to the regular rehearsals of the GVSU Symphony Orchestra, the GVSU Faculty String Trio traveled to Grandville to train the high school orchestra. Duitman also said he went to high school himself the week before the concert to conduct their symphony orchestra.
On the day of the concert, the two symphony orchestras put together the musical piece they collaborated on during a rehearsal at Grandville high school. Right before the concert, the two orchestras had dinner together, creating a bonding experience for the two orchestras.
Duitman said collaborative performances like this are beneficial to both college and high school students in “every way.” He said that this specific collaborative concert benefits students who are educationally, musically and socially involved.
He also believes the collaboration has recruitment benefits for GVSU through the way college students interact with high school students.
“I am always very proud of the way our students collaborate in the friendliest manner with high school students,” said Duitman.
Duitman said that when it comes to the side-by-side Symphony Orchestra concerts, he looks forward to “playing wonderful orchestral masterpieces in a beautiful concert hall with enthusiastic high school and college students. “.
Duitman said his favorite part of achieving this performance is the collaboration aspect.
“Working with Matthew Bridges and his students is a joy, and my students at GVSU are superb,” said Duitman.
With the concert’s enduring success, as well as the ways in which it benefits both the students involved and GVSU, it is no surprise that the Side-by-Side Symphony Orchestra concert continues to be held. year after year.