After a three-year hiatus, the wait is no more: on Thursday, May 5, from 4:30–6:30 p.m., West Chester University (WCU)’s Wells School of Music will be bringing the Concert on the Quad back to campus. Conducted by Music Director Joseph Caminiti, the event will feature the West Chester Symphony and other music ensembles, including the Latin Jazz Ensemble who will be warming up the quad with pre-concert entertainment.
The Concert on the Quad last took place in 2019 and was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With its grand return, this year will be the Concert on the Quad’s fourth annual performance on West Chester University’s academic quad behind Philips Memorial Building.
“As musicians, we went through the crisis of COVID wondering what our future career opportunities might be. We still wonder about that,” said Caminiti, when asked about the Concert on the Quad’s return after a three-year absence. “We have no doubt, however, that the power of music to impact lives is great, and our live audiences have been joyful reminders of that.”
The event is an open-air concert. Beyond the symphony of music in the air, the festivities include giveaways, raffles, free popcorn and WCU’s very own Rammy. Furthermore, because the music selections are dance-related, a dance area will be set up for those who wish to move and groove. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs, and are welcome to bring snacks for a picnic-esque experience. Students, surrounding communities and the general public alike are invited to attend.
“I started [the Concert on the Quad] back in 2016. We humans need to encounter music more serendipitously; ‘taking it to the streets’ affords that opportunity. Music is social by nature, so it’s fitting to avail it to the public as easily as possible,” said Caminiti.
Additionally, the Concert on the Quad is considered to be a N.I.C.E. (Neurodiverse Inclusive Campus Event) concert. Accommodations include ASL interpretation, trained volunteers, a quiet area, squishy toys/stress balls and a therapy dog.
“We are thrilled to once again present this festive event. The Concert on the Quad is a wonderful way to welcome Spring to our lovely campus, and to have fun and enjoy gorgeous music by our talented student musicians on what we hope will be a beautiful evening,” said Caminiti. “This concert is for people of all ages… children and beyond. What could be better than the merging of exhilarating live music, free popcorn, picnicking, raffles, communing and — drum roll — all for free! A pinnacle feature of this event is that it is a N.I.C.E. concert. This promises to be a beautifully memorable gathering!”
Leading up to the event, each orchestra member received their part and practiced it on their own time, then later the orchestra would come together as a whole to rehearse. “Some of the process is like fitting puzzle pieces together,” described Caminiti. “We also spend a lot of time exploring, then evoking the unique personalities of each piece. Hours of individual and collective work go into this process. It’s well worth it!”
Selections from the WCU Symphony Orchestra Concert on the Quad’s programs includes Saint-Saens’ “Bacchanale,” Khachaturian’s “Masquerade Suite,” Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and the world premiere of “Dance for Orchestra” by WCU Wells School of Music student, Andrew Lenko.
When asked about his favorite selection being performed, Caminiti said that it is “[s]o hard to decide. I know this sounds evasive, but every piece is so well-written and has its own fascinating personality. It is a particular privilege to premier the Dance for Orchestra by student composer, Andy Lenko. I hope many can come and be a part of history in the making, since it will receive its first public performance on Thursday.”
The Concert on the Quad will be taking place on the academic quad behind the Philips Memorial Building on Thursday, May 5, from 4:30–6:30 p.m. Admission is free.
In the event of rain, the concert will shift to an indoor performance in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall in Philips Memorial Building. No food is permitted within the Concert Hall.
For more information regarding the Concert on the Quad or other Wells School of Music events, refer to the events calendar provided by the Wells School of Music page on wcupa.edu.
Julien Padillo is a fourth-year Media & Culture major with a minor in Digital Marketing. JP913571@wcupa.edu