Dr. Benjamin Bergey from Eastern Mennonite University directed a full-day orchestra workshop at Eastern Mennonite School on Thursday, March 3, culminating in an evening program in the school’s auditorium. The experience on site was scheduled when the annual Mennonite Schools Council instrumental festival was cancelled due to COVID.
Featured pieces for the day’s rehearsals and program included “Three Riders Overture,” composed by C.L. Gruselle; “English Folk Songs Suite,” composed by R. Vaughan Williams; and the soaring “On Top of the World,” composed by B. Balmages.
Bergey is assistant professor of music at EMU, where he directs the choirs and orchestra, and teaches courses on music theory and conducting. He is an active musician who currently conducts the Rapidan Orchestra in Orange, Va. He completed his doctorate and masters at James Madison University in Orchestral Conducting, where he conducted the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as the Opera Orchestra, conducting performances of Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” and Puccini’s “La Boheme.”
“It was a treat to hear and see the full orchestra on our stage again,” said Paul Leaman, head of school. “We will never again take for granted the gift of making and enjoying music together!”