"Every time, there's a joy to it," said the mezzo-soprano vocalist, a senior at
Ludwig, three companion concerto-competition winners and 73 members of the
"It's in our mission statement," said
For the first time, the final concert is accessible to the general public. It's previously been performed only as part of commencement (May 10).
The orchestra members are 90 percent music majors. Ongaro, in his fifth year at Pacific, said during the past 30 years, a "little over 70 percent continue music" or have an "amazing variety of careers."
He recalled 2013's
"The standing ovation was great," he said. "It went on and on and on. All the students were, in a way, transformed. It's amazing to see a full house standing up and clapping for five minutes. It's a high. It's like their final exams."
Ludwig and 14 seniors underwent some extra-special scrutiny during the 2014 concerto competition. Their talents were evaluated by a member committee led by
"It was a difficult choice," said Ongaro, a member of the committee that spent an entire Sunday trying to pick just four. "There are many others who were deserving. At that level, these students managed that tiny bit more that got them (chosen). The others certainly were worth it."
Along with Ludwig, 22, from
A similar process led to the selection of Imant Kotsinsh, who's filling in for Waldvogel as Pacific's second-semester conductor. The native of
Kotsinsh, former conductor of the
"He's somebody with experience," Ongaro said of the
Kotsinsh conducts a 85-minute program that includes two vocals by Ludwig; Jeffrey's solo on
The orchestra plays
"It's very well-picked," Ongaro said of the 1888 Russian composition. "There are a lot of challenges for a variety of players. A lot of solo-type playing with a wide variety of moods. There are very different challenges in different parts. A lot of students get to shine. It's full of challenges."
Ludwig's ready to negotiate the top grade in at least 24 minutes of selections by
A graduate of
"I'm considered a very young opera singer," she said, noting that 26 is the minimal age for major productions.
Born with multiple auditory recession disorder, she learned to sing before she was able to master verbal skills. During high school, Ludwig "wore a kind of Walkman thing to amplify my teachers' voices.
"I've been singing pretty much since the very beginning. If anything, I feel it actually helps me pick up harmonies and sounds and different parts in the orchestra."
Though she likes rock-and-roll, too, opera is her main -- really, only -thing.
"It's pretty great," she said of tonight's commingling of musical skill and affection. "The concert is definitely a celebration of, like, how far some of the seniors have come.
"I've wanted to do a concert with the orchestra since I was a freshman. This is a huge opportunity, since they are such great musicians. How much we've grown as performers and musicians foreshadows what we'll do with our careers.
"I'm kind of sad. I loved it here. I did. Really."
(c)2014 The Record (Stockton, Calif.)
Visit The Record (Stockton, Calif.) at www.recordnet.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services