The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

A Summer of Music

July 4, 2014
Press Release #14-047


Every summer St. Mary’s College student musicians have the opportunity to join the Chesapeake Orchestra to perform alongside seasoned musicians during the popular River Concert Series. To prepare, the students practice with the orchestra, under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag, twice a week at Bowie State University.

Before the start of the 16th Annual River Concert Series—June 20 through July 25— we caught up with six student members to learn about what it takes to make the cut and to get their thoughts on the experience.

This week, meet cellist Amanda Durst ’16 and double bass player Henry Boyles ’16, both music majors.


Q: What is it like to perform at River Concert Series?

Durst:  It’s unlike any experience you could ever imagine. Thousands of people are attending the concerts, and you would think that would make you nervous, but it’s a relaxed atmosphere. The orchestra is having a good time, Jeff is having a good time, and the audience is enjoying the concert.

It is an honor to perform at the River Concert Series. I grew up in St. Mary’s County and I’ve been attending the River Concert Series since I was young.

Boyles: It’s a social event as much as a listening event so the musicians try to have as much fun with the concert as possible.

Q: What aspect of River Concert Series are you most excited about?

Durst: I’m looking forward to playing pieces I’ve never played before and working with the fabulous orchestra.

Q: Is it intimidating to play with professional musicians?

Durst: I want to play professionally as my ultimate career goal, so it is nice to see that these are people doing what I want to do and I can learn a lot from them.

Boyles: The professionals value the students’ musicianship and it is great to play with such skillful musicians who have worked at this all their lives. They are great role models.

Q: What is it like to work under the direction of Jeffery Silberschlag?

Boyles: Jeff likes to share his stories with the orchestra and get people to connect with the music and his own experience with the music. He brings a personal aspect to his conducting and directing style.

Q: Is there anything about River Concert Series that you are nervous about?

Boyles: Our instruments are very fragile and very susceptible to the weather, so I am interested to see how the orchestra will handle the intense summer weather.


This week, The Independence Day concert, “A Swingin’ Fourth,” will feature the works of Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and more. The evening will also include fireworks.