For anyone who has ever planned a formal event—or perhaps arrived at one just a bit earlier than the invitation requested—the sound of instruments tuning up and preparing to play instills a sense of excitement and anticipation. During Convocation week, guests who arrive early may hear a few warm-up notes from the violin, a pluck or two on the cello and a final shuffling of sheet music by members of the Seven Hills Symphony—UMass Medical School’s own orchestra—who will gracefully set the tone for several of the week’s events.
The Seven Hills Symphony was founded in 2005, when UMMS student Joanna Chaurette, a cellist who expressed an interest in forming a chamber music group, reached out to musicians within the UMMS community. Overwhelmed by the response of like-minded amateur musicians seeking a creative outlet, what Chaurette envisioned as a small group quickly became a full orchestra and now includes more than 50 musicians: students and faculty, several of their family members and UMass Memorial employees, as well as musicians from surrounding communities. Since first performing publicly in December 2005, Seven Hills Symphony has been well-received, with hundreds of people attending their concerts featuring works by Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, Strauss, Copland, Gershwin, Bizet and Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Chaurette, an MD/PhD student currently conducting thesis research in the program in neurobiology, said, “It is a great mix of people who enjoy playing music together. Our concerts on campus are convenient for students, employees and their families. I often hear that it is someone’s first time attending an orchestral concert and that they didn’t expect it to be so much fun.”
The Seven Hills Symphony will stage a brass quintet for the Investiture reception on Sept. 15 and a string quartet on Sept. 16 for the White Coat Ceremony. Both are comprised of musicians from its Chamber Players program, which consists of members of the symphony who donate their time to rehearse and perform chamber music, pieces that are written for a small number of musicians.
Read more about the Seven Hills Symphony here or visit www.shsymphony.org. Their next public concert, “Two Symphonies Inspired by Nature” is scheduled for Nov. 19, in the Blais Pavilion of the Lazare Research Building.