Hinsdale Central’s chamber orchestra has moved past the audition process and is now rehearsing for upcoming performances. The group is comprised of approximately 25 musicians, including violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists. Music department chair Jeff Wirtz conducts the orchestra, as well as its larger counterparts, the symphonic and concert orchestras.
The level of musicianship demanded is extremely high. “Chamber orchestra is supposed to be students who are driven to play the perfect performance and want to strive to that end. We treat them almost as if they are a professional orchestra,” Wirtz said. A competitive auditions process requires all participating students to be fully invested in their instruments, both inside and outside of school.
The greatest test for the orchestra will come with this year’s musical, Les Miserables. The production is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the drama department in years, and the level of difficulty does not stop at the stage. “The experience for the students in chamber orchestra is so that they have a sense of what it’s like to be playing in a musical in downtown Chicago, or on Broadway. We treat it the same way. We have incredibly wonderful actor singers up on stage, our crew is wonderful, and everything that goes into the musical performance is really top notch,” Wirtz said.
Above all, Wirtz hopes that students will take what they learn in chamber orchestra and apply it outside of the classroom. “That’s what it’s all about, in all of the orchestras, giving them the experiences so that they can go out into the real world outside of the building and go to an orchestra concert and understand what it takes to get those performances done and how hard it really is,” Wirtz said.