Status: Student Musician
Graduated from RWC: 2017 (Bachelor of Science in Music Performance, Flute)
Number of Seasons: I joined the RWCCO on my first full day at Roberts when I transferred in January 2016.
At my first rehearsal with the RWCCO, I could see it was a special ensemble. Many conductors fall into the cycle of lowering the difficulty of their musical selections to their ensemble’s current ability. When unchallenged, an ensemble’s performance level declines in energy, passion, and technical ability. Dr. Shewan has a refreshingly different approach to selecting repertoire. Instead of lowering his standard, he raises ours. He holds us to a level of excellence and pushes our technical limits, so we are constantly growing in artistry. I think that’s the best thing about this orchestra: it never stops growing.
Playing with the RWCCO is also just a lot of fun. I can clearly picture Dr. Shewan jumping off the stage mid-rehearsal and running to the back of the auditorium to listen for balance. As we played, we would periodically see his hand stick up from behind various chairs throughout the hall, still directing us. While rehearsals are focused and challenging, they are also full of inspiration and laughter.
The RWCCO has taught me that great music is not perfect technique. It is story-telling. It’s singing. It’s connecting. It’s joining together with other college and community members and creating something beautiful out of nothing. It was under Dr. Shewan’s instruction that I first began taking my ears off myself and listening to everything happening around me – performing within the context of the bigger picture of every other person on the stage and in the audience. Music is intrinsically communal, brimming with inspiration found in the beauty of everyday life. And, I must say, everyday life at Roberts is beautiful!”