Music returns to Griffin Concert Hall

  • University Symphony Orchestra Fall 2020 Performance photo

It was an emotional moment when the University Symphony Orchestra (strings and percussion) took the Griffin Concert Hall stage and played the first concert at the University Center for the Arts in six months.

The concert was conducted by Wes Kenney and graduate conducting student, Andrew Mendizabal. Maestro Kenney spoke several times during the concert, conveying how artists and their art help us make sense of the times we are in.

Despite playing an incredible program, including what Kenney called one of the most beautiful piece of music ever written (Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams), the most poignant moment might have been these words from the conductor:

“The students on this stage are courageous. Their music supersedes anything else that they are facing right now. The first thing I said to them when I saw them back in August was “You have to stay safe. You have to take care of yourselves, otherwise we will not get through to this point. Needless to say, they took my word for it. We’re so happy that they are here. We are so happy that you are listening to us and that we are able to make music again.”

Brenda and Rob Sater emailed their thoughts about the concert to the department: “Thanks to everyone for their hard work, bravery and ingenuity in creating a music and arts program this semester. With so much of college life out-of-kilter at the moment, it brings me joy that my daughter and other students can gather in-person and make music together. A small bit of normalcy means so much in these times, and the ability to make music and escape the problems of the world for a while is so good for the soul.”

Bravo, USO!

If you missed the livestream, you can view it on-demand starting Oct. 4. Tickets at