Student orchestra trio shares talents with campus and community

By Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

Washington College’s Music Department offers the opportunity for students to perform as a chamber music ensemble of their own creation, and the three members of the current orchestral trio took that one step further by giving themselves a name: Melophilia, meaning “music loving.”

The trio, comprised of juniors Eric Celmer, Mari Mullane, and sophomore Michael Hershey — violinist, violinist, and cellist, respectively — has performed a variety of pieces at events and special occasions on campus and in the community since last semester.

In addition to playing in the trio, all three musicians are also part of the String Orchestra on campus that performs every semester.

The trio has its origins in a chamber music class offered by the Department of Music. According to the WC website, the trio, as well as other string orchestra-based organizations across campus, “studies and performs orchestral music from various musical periods,” featuring “violin, viola, cello, and bass.”

Originally a duo between Celmer and Mullane, Melophilia is managed by Professor Kimberly McCollum, lecturer in music, who also teaches violin and viola lessons and conducts WC’s String Orchestra.

According to the members, McCollum helps them land gigs for performances at a variety of establishments in the Chestertown community, with the most recent being the Lion’s Club dinner.

“The Lions Club asked us to provide background music for their business meeting and then some songs for an entertainment portion of the night,” Mullane said.

“We played some romantic waltzes and then some twentieth century love songs and easily recognizable tunes that the attendees could dance to if they wanted,” she said.

According to Celmer, Melophilia has performed twice at the staff Champagne Reception at the Hynson-Ringgold House and at the Chestertown Dickens Festival, in addition to their last performance at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club.

The group has performed works from different genres of music, from classical masterpieces and waltzes by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, to more recent genres like ragtime and classic rock.

“The type of music [we play] really depends on the event and the venue. We played more upbeat dances and waltzes as well as a bit of Elvis, Skeeter Davis, and Elton John for the Valentine’s Day gathering,” Celmer said.

“We’ve played everything from Bach to The Lion King to Christmas sing-a-longs. We are normally asked to play some decorative background music as people arrive and then a main event performance or sing along. We all like playing and getting the opportunity to have an audience is always welcome,” Hershey said.

The three musicians hope to expose students and community members to the world of the arts whether they are on stage or serving as background music.

“We hope they get a sense of enjoyment and appreciation for the arts and music. We love playing together and we hope that our audience can sense that and that they enjoy listening to us,” Mullane said.

“We sincerely hope that the students and staff get some amount of enjoyment and interest in the arts,” Celmer said.

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