Musicians turn words of Plato turn into song

Stephanie White, Entertainment Editor

What was only a thought in the mind of an Eastern student six years ago came to life for the first time Tuesday night in the form of music.

Mark Rheaume, a graduate assistant in the music department, used to be an undergraduate student at Eastern.

Rheaume presented his composition that is based off the text of philosopher Plato in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

“Six years ago I was sitting in my introduction to philosophy class listening to the works of Plato and I sat there and thought, ‘this could be a really good (musical) piece,” he said.

A degree and a half later, he did just that, in a Symposium that was a series of solos performed by Eastern music students and professors.

Gary Aylesworth, a philosophy professor who spoke about Plato, his life and his works, introduced the symposium.

A total of seven solos were included; student and pianist Tyler Harr accompanied each.

All performers besides Harr played wind instruments.

Each sound fit together to create a harmony but at the same time was its own unique sound.

The first performer was student Chris Fryer, who played the trumpet.  His piece was called “Phaedrus.”

Fryer’s trumpet mixed with Harr’s piano created a soft music piece that sounded like a welcoming or introduction into the symposium.

Music professor Todd French, who played the tuba, was the second soloist and played the piece called “Pausanias,” followed by student Tim Layden on the horn, who played the piece called “Eryximachus.”

Next was student Greg Watson who played the piece “Aristophanes” on his euphonium.  Student Maureen Moeller, who played the flute to the piece “Agathon,” followed Watson after his performance.

Each performer built up the tempo with their pieces, making it sound like they were building off one another.

The sixth solo, called “Socrates,” was the most dramatic because the music seemed to explode and bounce off the walls.

Music professor Jemmie Robertson, who played tenor trombone and was joined by student Haley Altgilbers’ vocals, performed the solo.

She sang for a few moments during the solo and did not come onstage but hid in the wings of the stage.

The symposium ended with the final solo performed by student Sarah Gorecki on clarinet.  The piece was called “Alcibiades,” and it was a soft piece, much like the first solo, bringing the performances full circle.

This symposium was the first time it was performed to the public, turning the words of Plato into music.

Stephanie White can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].