ARC student orchestra kicks off semester with upcoming concert

The classical music of Russian masters will come to campus as an orchestral performance, conducted by professor Steven Thompson and performed by ARC students.

Saturday’s program will feature all Russian master’s music, as well as a guest performance composed by Tanya Vegvary Plescia, a pianist and founder of the Sacramento Piano Conservatory.

Plescia’s piece is called “The Prokiev Piano Concerto No. 1.”

“To me, this concerto is about love, passion, creation and all of life itself and how we are all connected. When I learn a piece of music written by another composer I actually re-compose the music to be the expression of who I am,” Plescia said.

The second half of the concert will be the Mussorsky’s pictures and exhibitions, which will feature vignettes of different paintings.

“This is going to be a great concert. The orchestra is playing great, our soloist is just wonderful, and I’m really looking forward to it. I know there’s going to be a big audience and there should be a lot of energy,” said Thompson.

Thompson discussed his feelings on the orchestra he conducts.

“We have some of the best undergraduate students in the area in our orchestra, and we’re very lucky because we’ve built a strong orchestra program at the college, (which) is the envy of many universities, and we’re very fortunate to have such great students,” Thompson said.

Thompson also explained why he wanted to become an orchestra conductor.

“I have moments where I can’t imagine anyone having a better job than me. Of course, there are moments of great stress too, but it all works out in the end. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be an orchestra conductor. I enjoy American River College and the students very much,” said Thompson, who has taught at ARC for fourteen years.

“You get to a certain point in your career where you realize your dream and passion and I find that amazing. We have a fantastic department here, one of the best in the states that shows our student’s success,” he added.

Thompson will be conducting a holiday concert by ARC’s orchestra in December, featuring a medley from the Disney film, “Frozen,” as well as the orchestral piece, “Sleigh Ride,” and some classical music from “The Nutcracker.”

The program will also showcase two ballet companies, one from Roseville, the Northern California Dance Conservatory, as well as the ARC ballet and dance departments, to be directed by ARC dance professor Sunny Smith.

Tickets for the orchestra are $10 and are available for purchase at the ARC theater box office, through Thompson, or at

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