OKWU Student and Faculty Participate in Local Symphony

Written by: Emma Baldwin

 On Saturday, February 9, I was blessed to attend the Bartlesville Heart and Soul symphony with some friends and enjoy local talent, including some of OKWU’s own prodigies—Professor Wade Daniel as soloist pianist, Professor Travis Dunlap in percussion, and freshman David Romanko in the violin section.

The early Valentine’s Day celebration opened with Sammy Fain’s “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” The combination of the strings, percussion, horns, and overarching feeling of anticipation pulled the audience in, sweeping them off their feet as if they had just entered some sappy romance movie. This enchanting piece was followed by Alexander North’s “Unchained Melody.”

My personal favorite performance was Professor Daniel’s arrangement that combined a big band classic, “Fly Me to the Moon,” with classical undertones inspired by Chopin. Professor Daniel led the symphony in several songs, a few of which he arranged himself. He included an arrangement he composed of his wife’s favorite love song. The orchestra also included pieces by Charles Williams, Ennio Morricone, Felix Mendelssohn (including the famous “Wedding March,” originally written for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and many others. The romantic evening came to a picturesque close when the orchestra members played Tchaikovsky’s waltz from Sleeping Beauty after a standing ovation from enthusiastic audience members. In response to the performance, McKenna Deck said, “The symphony lit up my heart because it reminded me of God’s kindness for us. The night was filled with friends, charm, the unexpected, and it delivered truth to the power of love. … Imagine what the world would be without love. It would be so boring.”

Freshman David Romanko, who was a second violinist in the orchestra, was by far the youngest member. Additionally, he had his music for the symphony only about two weeks in advance and only had four rehearsals before the big night. This didn’t stop David from playing confidently and excellently during the performance, however. McKenna said, “I loved watching David play because you could see that he loved doing it.”

Many of you probably have witnessed David’s talent from chapel, Altar, weekend worship, or his radical performance during last semester’s talent show. He has been playing the violin for fifteen years. His parents told him and all his siblings that they could choose to learn any stringed instrument they wanted. Although he cannot remember choosing to learn the violin, David assumes that he chose to play it simply because most of his siblings did. While he was trained classically, he began playing fiddle for a cowboy church in his hometown. This experience, in combination with the bluegrass camp he has attended, has helped him to become comfortable in playing various styles of music.

David has a lot of experience performing, which includes playing alongside his family quartet or performing duets with his sister at weddings. He started playing on the worship team for his church back home after he found out his worship pastor had signed him up for auditions. While at college, he plays every Sunday for the chamber orchestra directed by Professor Daniel at First Baptist Church.

Although David still gets the chance to play and perform quite a bit, he does not want to play for his career. He is afraid that if he makes it his job, it won’t be fun anymore. He is happy playing it for fun, and most importantly, he wants to play for the glory of God. David said, “Music is cool. I really like playing because I see it as a way of worshipping God.” He hopes to use his talent to glorify the One who gave it to him as well as encourage others to worship God through this talent.