When the Waupaca Area Orchestra takes the stage for its Mother’s Day concert, the musicians will be joined by seven students.
Conductor Stephan Wucherer recalls his own experience playing with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra as a high school student.
“That opportunity to play with the orchestra was a big part of why I went into music as an adult,” Wucherer said. “I’d like to give that same opportunity to kids now.”
“I think it’s absolutely fabulous,” said Kelsie Wolfgram, a Waupaca High School junior. “I love the opportunity to play with professional musicians.”
Wolfgram, who has been playing French horn since the sixth grade, said her favorite piece in the concert program is Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
“The horns absolutely dominate that piece,” Wolfgram said. “The melody – da, da, da, da! – is empowering.”
In addition to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in C minor, the program also includes Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Rossini’s overture to the Barber of Seville and the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
“It’s a very challenging program even for the adults. Each instrument has its own challenges,” Wucherer said. “The works are definitely above anything a high school program would do. Even a lot of college programs would not do this program.”
Wucherer teaches music and conducts in the Oshkosh School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a master’s degree from Butler University.
Wucherer has performed with orchestras in Wisconsin, Indiana and New York, in Italy and Switzerland. He currently lives in Weyauwega.
“We have about 45 musicians playing in the Waupaca Area Orchestra,” Wucherer said. “At least three-quarters of them are from the immediate area.”
Amanda Durfee, a Waupaca High School junior who has been playing the trumpet for six years, said her favorite piece is the Barber of Seville.
“The trumpets have a really nice part in it,” she said, adding that learning the part was a challenge.
“I’ve never played with a string orchestra before. Normally, I play with wind instruments,” Amanda said. “Strings are more passionate.”
Her brother, Robert Durfee, said this is the second time he has played with a full orchestra.
As a seventh grader, he was selected to perform with the Wisconsin Middle Level Honors Orchestra.
A freshman at WHS now, Robert plays percussion.
“It’s a great experience,” Robert said. “I’m learning how to really listen to the music and understand how all the instruments work together and complement each other with the rythms.”
Sophie Siccio, a WHS sophomore, has been playing the French horn for about five years.
“It’s challenging music,” Siccio said. “I’m playing at a higher level than what I usually play. It’s also challenging because I’m playing with so many professionals here.”
The Waupaca Area Orchestra has scheduled two performances of its Love & Fate concert.
The first performance is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Gerold Opera House, 136 E. Main St., Weyauwega.
The second performance, which will include the students, will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at the Jensen Center, 487 N. Main St., Amherst.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They are available at the Coffee Klatsch in Weyauwega, the Book Cellar and Dragonwings Bookstore in Waupaca, and Mitchell Piano Works in Stevens Point.