The Classical side of Pierce

 High up in the Art Center on campus resides the meeting place for the Pierce College Student Orchestra, a class of experienced musicians being conducted and instructed under the wing of Professor James Domine.


In MUSC 3400, the orchestra meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to sharpen their skills and communicate about—well, the musical things in life.


“We usually have a group of around 18 to 25 students in the class each semester, and the ages and skill levels always vary,” said Domine.


The varied background and experience of each player may sound inviting for onlookers that are curious to join, however Domine stresses that the course is meant for students who have a visible proficiency with orchestral instruments.


“It’s great to hear kids wanting to learn more about this kind of music”, Domine said, but he recommends the available introductory courses offered for students on campus before they decide to join the orchestra.


Though the class is comprised mostly of string instrumentalists, additional textures including specific wind and percussion instruments are sometimes added in for concerts as well as solo performances.


“We’ve had alumni among other outside performers come and play with us, including members of the San Fernando Valley Symphony,” he said.


The orchestra has been around long before Domine’s hiring, long enough for it to be called a Pierce tradition.


“Before I was hired, a man named Ronald Taylor was at the head of this orchestra which has been around since 1959,” said Domine.


The types of music preferred are mostly from the Baroque and Classical eras simply to compliment the relatively specific size of the orchestra class.


Domine mentioned a Clarinet Concerto by the early-Romantic composer Carl Weber and Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as a few examples of the music played each semester.


Last year, the orchestra played Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto for the recurring semester concert, and they are currently planning on performing work from Haydn during the concert in May.


The concert, which is free for students, will be held on May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre-converted MUSC 3401 rather than the Performing Arts Theater, due to ongoing construction on the building.


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