Claremont Orchestra pays tribute to Lamkin in concert

Michael Shather
Staff Writer

The sounds of classical music filled the evening air, beckoning crowds to the source.

The Claremont Colleges came together in a joint music program Saturday to bid farewell to acclaimed conductor Michael Lamkin at the Garrison Theater.

The program was a tribute to Lamkin, who has served the colleges for more than 10 years as a teacher and concert conductor.

Lamkin, who is a professor of music at Scripps College, was appointed to the Joint Music Program of the Claremont Colleges, a program that serves Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges.

The Claremont Concert Orchestra held “Concert in Vienna” to honor their conductor of the past decade by playing three of his favorite works.

Before the show started, the Scripps College Performing Arts Center was a buzz with people of all ages flocking to the Garrison Theater.

Many people had come to see one of the last performances that Lamkin would conduct and the beautiful music that the Concert Orchestra was known to produce.

“I enjoy this kind of stuff,” Chris Kaelberer, junior business administration major and music minor, said. “I am also here to support our friends from La Verne who are performing tonight.”

The first song kicked off the night on the right note. Settling the audience down from the excitement of anticipation, “Emperor Waltzes” by Johann Strauss Jr. was mellow and intriguing.

There was definitely a feeling of empire in the Emperor Waltzes that lead the audience to believe they were a part of some monarchy long ago.

The sounds from different instruments came together in a complete and perfect harmony.

It takes a tremendous amount of time to work on all of the songs, making each sound perfect.

“We usually met once a week for a couple hours to practice before a performance,” violinist and University of La Verne student Angelica Osorio said. “However for this performance, we were meeting twice a week for practice. We had to be perfect.”

The second song sounded like something from the climax of a Disney film where the hero must face the villain for a final showdown. Shrouded in mystery, Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony No. 8” portrayed the mood of panic and doubt. The feelings captivated the audience, and took them on a mental journey. With only sounds and harmonies, the audience is left to imagine, feeding off the emotions of the music.

“I came out to support my friend who is playing bass,” Amanda White, a senior biology major at Claremont McKenna, said. “I haven’t seen an orchestral performance in a long time so this was a fun experience for me.”

The final song was a roller coaster of emotion. Johannes Brahms’s “Symphony No. 1” picked up the audiences spirits after Schubert’s number only to slam them back into deep introspective thought. Easily the most complicated song, Symphony No. 1 left the audience exhausted from there mental journey.

The Claremont Concert Orchestra is an auditioned ensemble of student musicians of The Claremont Colleges and guest specializing in the performance of repertoire from the 18th through the mid-20th centuries.

Founded in 1977 this group has grown to be highly regarded for its expressive range and enthusiastic performances.

“I’m very pleased with their performance of the pieces, especially with the Brahms,” Kaelberer said. “Brahms and other composers from that era used complex rhythms and chord functions that require a great deal of concentration and effort, both of which were showed by the orchestra.”

Michael Shather can be reached at

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