It has been 21 long years since the EWU Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform at a major music conference. Now, thanks to the hard work of student performers, their conductor John Marshall and generous Eastern Washington University donors, the drought is over.

The EWU Symphony Orchestra was selected by audition to appear at the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) state conference. The conference is underway Feb. 13–16 in Yakima. For the Valentine’s Day performance, Marshall, a professor of strings and cello studies at EWU, put together a program juxtaposing a celebration of love with a commemoration of nature’s power.

The “love” portion of the program will feature two talented faculty artists, Lynne Feller-Marshall on bassoon and Julia Salerno on violin. The third and final piece will take listeners on a musical journey evoking an event that anyone who lived in the Pacific Northwest on May 18, 1980 will remember—the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

“It’s loud and chaotic and primal,” says Marshall. “We won’t be offended if you have to cover your ears.”

EWU Music Department invited university donors and retirees to a special dress rehearsal of the program on Wednesday, Feb. 12, during which, the student musicians thanked the donors who made the trip possible. Sponsors Susan and Paul Kennedy and Marty Zyskowski generously gave $15,000 to cover nearly the full cost of travel to Yakima.

The students are grateful to have an opportunity to perform on a statewide stage and the Music Department is pleased to show music educators across the state of Washington the kind of success students are having at Eastern.

You’re invited to enjoy the EWU Symphony Orchestra during its many campus performances each quarter. The symphony will perform the entire Mount St. Helens Symphony at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 in Showalter Auditorium.