This October, the University of Dayton Orchestra is going places it’s never been before – literally.
The orchestra is taking a trip over fall break to Puerto Rico showcasing their talent and encouraging love and practice of music, specifically at UD.
Junior violinist Kayla Mueller says it’s the first time they’ve traveled together as an orchestra. “I thought this would be a perfect opportunity because the time we usually spend together is in the orchestra room, and everyone is usually exhausted,” she says. “I’m excited to get to know each other on a deeper level other than just each other’s first names.”
For generations, UD has become a home away from home for Puerto Rican students – an effort advocated by Myron Achbach ’58, former director of admission.
According to associate professor Patrick Reynolds, conductor of four years, there were two key people who helped make this pioneer trip possible: Achbach and the current dean of engineering, Tony Saliba ’81.
Reynolds says that the trip is a great opportunity to reward them for their hard work and commitment — and the students appreciate his efforts. “Dr. Reynolds put a lot of work into getting the trip together and approved,” Mueller says. “He’s really excited to share it with us.”
The orchestra will perform at schools in San Juan and a historic cathedral, as well as in a UD alumni concert in addition to a two-hour combined rehearsal with the orchestra from the preparatory program at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico.
“We want to make sure we’re connecting with students who are interested in music,” Reynolds says.
The program is primarily classical, including Bach and Mozart, as well as Spanish and Caribbean influenced pieces to reach wide audiences, he says. The songs were chosen to show off the orchestra, in order to be satisfying for the audience as well as the players.
“A lot of the songs have solos, highlighting the principal players,” says first-year viola player Kira Ogburn. She hopes the performances will give the audience a taste of the students’ talents.