By: Diana Perez
University of Akron student Benjamin Beals created the Akron Regional Chamber Orchestra (ARCO). The idea of starting an orchestra was not pushed upon him.
“It was a complete joke,” Beals said, referring to how the idea came upon him. According to Beals, he was sitting with his friends at dinner when a friend of Beals brought up the idea that he should start an orchestra. Beals’s response was, “Yes I should.”
Two months later, the orchestra came to be. Not all the members of the orchestra are UA students. Members come from all different age groups, the youngest being high school students.
“We are like a true family,” Beals said, referring to his relationship with the members. “We have respect for each other. I feel like they would feel the same way.”
To keep the orchestra a friendly and educational environment, Beals said that “he tries to keep it very relaxed and high-energy.”
“It’s a fun experience because [Beals is] a very nice man,” said Mario Buchanan, assistant conductor of ARCO and a freshman at UA. “He doesn’t scold you. He tells you to improve,” said Buchanan, referring to Beals’s method of teaching.
Buchanan helps to conduct music and also helps Beals get music ready or contact orchestra members. His list of duties at times seems endless.
Buchanan had the opportunity to conduct the first piece of music at the Children Concert on Feb. 4 at the Saint Sebastian Church, where he helped pick kids to conduct and play instruments at the concert. His role was to engage the kids and show them it is not just a concert, but about kids learning.
“Kids played music for us, we played music for them, and parents participated as well,” Beals said, referring to how the kids and parents broaden their experience by participating.
The next performance by ARCO will be on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Saint Sebastian Church. The performance will begin with the Saint Sebastian Church Choir and then a performance by ARCO with the choir.
“It will evoke a lot of emotion,” Beals said.