Franciscan University of Steubenville’s new chamber orchestra performed a concert themed around the message of Divine Mercy that featured two professional guest musicians Sunday evening, Nov. 21, at St. Peter Catholic Church.
Stanley Konopka, orchestra director and violist in the Cleveland Orchestra, said the performance was meant to not only be a concert, but a call to conversion. The church was filled with students, faculty and families from Franciscan.
The orchestra performed four pieces of music, with three spiritual reflections read in between.
The first piece was called “Fratres” by Arvo Párt and featured violinist Stephen Tavani, assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Graduate student Claire Dawyot, violinist, introduced the piece with a meditation on examination of conscience.
“Tonight is a time to reflect on our lives and our relationships with the Lord,” she said. She invited the audience to join in praying an examination of conscience, and prayed, “That I may ponder Christ’s passion with true feeling, that my heart may be renewed and that I may respond to my neighbor’s suffering with deeper compassion and more generous mercy.”
Sophomore violinist Joshua Navos led a meditation before the next song, which included an offering of sins to God. He read the story of the prodigal son, which he said shows the love of God the father towards his children.
The orchestra then performed an adagio from “Concerto for Cello and Orchestra” by Edward Elgar, featuring cello soloist Karissa Shivone, a performer in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Violist Elizabeth Hildebrand, a junior in high school, read a final meditation for the evening on the celebration of the joy of salvation. She read the prayer, “I delight mightily in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation.”
Two final pieces of music closed the concert. Three movements from “Concerto Grosso in D major Op. 6 No. 4” by Arcangelo Corelli featured senior violinist Alicia Winters and junior flautist Rebecca Homer as soloists.
The last song, “Ave Maria” by Johann Sebastian Bach, featured Shivone and freshman Celine Najm as soloists.
Senior Zoey Stapleton said, “It was so beautiful and I really loved how they tied the theme of Divine Mercy into it all.”