Vivaldi Alfresco

An impromptu concert reminds us that music inspires despite the pandemic

Concertmaster Minji Ko ’21
By Laura Meader
October 16, 2020

It felt like being in a movie. From the steps of Miller Library, the afternoon sun streamed across the quad with autumn’s glory spread out before us. And in the air, music. Bach. Vivaldi. Mozart. The perfect soundtrack to a golden moment atop Mayflower Hill.

The alfresco performance from the string section of the Colby Symphony Orchestra was a much-needed gift to a Colby community weary of screens and earbuds. We were there, in person, awash in the immediacy and delicacy of their talent.

The string section of the Colby Symphony Orchestra performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in their only live performance of the fall season.

“Music has the power to bring everybody together,” said Conductor Jinwook Park, who organized the pop-up concert with the wish that it would bring a message of hope. “Through music, we embrace each other and know that we are in this together.”

Sixteen students and two faculty came together for the concert, overcoming wind gusts that threatened to derail their performance. They persisted, undaunted by the wind and the flapping of the flag directly above them. “We’re playing only three of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,” Park joked. Who needed the fall concerto when autumn was interjecting itself so forcefully?

The performance, and the in-person rehearsals leading up to it, provided the students with the opportunity to play together and present their music in front of an audience—experiences, Park said, that are central to their growth as musicians.

Esther Kim ’21 plays a solo as part of the winter concerto in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

“Music is something that I share with others,” said violinist Minji Ko ’21, who found performance helped her overcome shyness as an adolescent. “Performing is an uninterrupted time in which you’re communicating with the audience.” Ko, who serves as concertmaster for the orchestra, was impressed with the orchestra’s commitment to the pieces. “Everyone is so well-prepared,” she said, especially the many soloists, including violinist Esther Kim ’21, whose virtuosity shone during Vivaldi’s winter concerto.

For Ko, the performance represents a sort of normalcy and solidarity in a time when things have been so disrupted. “I think it’s really hopeful to see musicians playing together because it’s a reminder that the arts will continue after the pandemic ends.”