Alumnus Thomas Hong ’95 Leads New Jersey Chamber Orchestra

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Tom Hong

The newly formed New Jersey Chamber Orchestra (NJCO), composed of accomplished musicians in the Mid-Atlantic region, includes several distinguished members of the Cairn University School of Music. Thomas Hong ’95, artistic director and conductor of the UPenn Orchestra and director of the Cairn University Symphony Orchestra, leads the NJCO as its music director. Cairn’s dean of the School of Music, Dr. Benjamin Harding ’02, performs in the ensemble as well Dr. Harding also serves as the director of worship at Riverstone Church in Yardley, PA. The ensemble also welcomed award-winning musicians and Cairn instructors Natalia Rudoi DaSilva (violin) and Rachel Ku (viola). Alumni Hannah Pak ’94 and Emilie Park ’06 as well as current students Caleb Thompson ’22 and Brinson Moore ’24 are also taking part in the orchestra.

NJCO held their first performance at The Music Barn, an outdoor venue in Mullica Hill, NJ, on Friday, July 9. Robin Leigh Massie, vocal faculty in the School of Music, was welcomed as a guest performer in this inaugural concert. Drawing on the current cultural ethos of reopenings and fresh starts, the inaugural concert was titled “An American Dream: Music of Aaron Copland.” The ensemble hoped their performance of Copland’s works would “encapsulate the hope, optimism, and earnestness of the American spirit present in Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ and ‘Tender Land Suite.’”