Musicians outside Moores School find home in student org
On the surface, UH Non-Music Major Orchestra, one of hundreds of registered student organizations on campus, might seem like any other group of musicians. The organization is unique, however, in that not a single member is pursuing a career in music, yet they all share a passion for performing and playing musical instruments.
The Non-Music Major Orchestra caters to students in other majors who still want to practice and perform regularly. Along with weekly practice sessions for members, the organization hosts events throughout the year for the wider UH community.
“We’re an organization that wants to promote musical interest, specifically instrumental musical interest, of players who primarily are not music majors at school,” said President of Non-Music Major Orchestra Daniel Bao, a biomedical sciences junior. “We do that by having annual concerts, ensemble opportunities and events.”
The organization was founded on campus in Spring 2015 and has since grown to a record number of members. This semester, the organization holds 70 members, Bao said.
“Previously for our concerts, we’ve had over 300 audience members show up,” Bao said. “We’re trying to get a group of people that appreciate the work, know someone in the orchestra or they like the music.”
As for student involvement, Non-Music Major Orchestra is present on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. They also have members present at Cat’s Back and Cougar Carnival, both events designed to connect new and returning students to organizations on campus, to attract prospective members, Bao said.
“Sometimes we do more general outreach, tabling events and bake sales around the Student Center and the Satellite when it was open,” Bao said.
Along with the concerts, held twice per academic year, Non-Music Major Orchestra also offers socials and practices for its members.
“Just previous to this week, we had a videogame social,” Bao said. “A lot of people on campus are big fans of Smash and other social games like Quiplash, so we try to get them involved in other things and music.”
Practice sessions are on a weekly basis and last for about two hours. The organization took finals into consideration when planning upcoming practices, which have been scheduled around test times so members are better able to attend.
“We provide a two-hour framework, and it’s consistently on Mondays, where they can still focus on playing music at a higher level but also focus on other parts of their academic studies here,” Bao said.
Members are not required to attend meetings if they have any scheduling conflicts, but they cannot miss more than two per semester, Bao said.
Non-Music Major Orchestra’s most recent performance was Sunday, Bao said. The members voted on pieces they wanted to play and that would also be appealing to the audience, he said.
“We’re gonna start it off with Jupiter, a pretty classic piece, but some of the more interesting pieces we have are the Zelda 25th Anniversary Medley,” Bao said before the concert. “A lot of people are fans of Zelda, and they really like the music, so by playing it as part of the orchestra or by listening to it they can bring back nostalgia.”
The lineup for the concert was very diverse, including both classical pieces and modern videogame soundtrack pieces, which are more appealing for the audience, Bao said.
“We have pieces that the players chose themselves,” Bao said. “Those are more popular, and I think they’re gonna be a lot more interesting for the audience members to come listen.”