Madeleine Kobes — Staff Writer
The Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO) will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, in the B.J. Haan Auditorium. NISO is a regional group that meets on Dordt University’s campus, under the direction of Onsby Rose. Featuring many student instrumentalists and a composition written by a Dordt student, the concert offers a different style of music and a unique opportunity for a rural community like Sioux Center.
The symphony orchestra consists of professional musicians, community members, and students. Rose, the NISO director and a music professor at Dordt, describes it as a “training” orchestra. Section leaders are often teachers or professional musicians who also play in other orchestras. Student string musicians who play in the Dordt’s Chamber Orchestra make up the rest of the players, as well as community members. Most of these community members played in NISO during college and wanted to continue playing their instruments.
NISO will perform three pieces at the Nov. 15 concert. The titular piece, “From the New World” is a familiar orchestral tune by Antonin Dvorak. NISO will also play “Concerto for Bass Tuba” by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, featuring Tuba Soloist Keven Young.
The most notable piece to be played at the concert is “Overture in D Minor,” by Aaron Galloway. Galloway is a current Dordt student who plays cello in the Chamber Orchestra. He is a junior double major in biology and music composition. Galloway began composing on his own five years ago. Taking composition classes with Rose marked Galloway’s first formal instruction in writing music.
Previously, Galloway has written several pieces for the Woodwind Quintet, Saxophone Quartet, and Chamber Orchestra, which were performed at Dordt last year. “Overture in D Minor” will open this year’s NISO concert. Galloway said he began writing the song last winter and showed it to Rose in the spring. Rose then selected it for NISO’s fall concert.
“I did not expect to get such a great opportunity,” Galloway said. “But I am very thankful for it.”
Galloway’s overture is for a standard symphony with a Romantic era classical style. The piece is based on a choral by J.S. Bach, which is heard in the opening section. The choral is broken up into motive fragments which develop throughout the work.
“There are also a couple of my own original melodies used in the piece,” Galloway said. “One of these themes, introduced by a horn solo near the beginning, plays an important role toward the end of the piece and helps tie the work together.”
Tickets are significantly less expensive than most major orchestra prices, and Dordt students also get a discount. “From the New World” is one of three concerts NISO will perform this year; there is also a spring concert and a pops concert. It is uncommon to find a full symphony orchestra outside of larger cities, making this Dordt experience unique.
“The fact that, through the support of Dordt and the community, we’re able to have a full symphony orchestra to perform here is pretty amazing,” Rose said.
Not only is NISO a unique group for such a rural area, it’s also a style of music many don’t hear often. The concert is a way to “get outside of the normal music box,” according to Rose. He encourages all students to consider attending.
“I would love to see more of our student musicians and student population in general make it out to the NISO concerts,” Rose said. “It’s a great opportunity to be exposed to music that they may not hear on a daily basis, especially if they’re not an active musician in an ensemble currently.”