NWU professor strikes the right chord with Lincoln Symphony Orchestra
Joyce Besch still remembers singing and playing the piano as a child for anyone who would stand still long enough to hear her.
Then, came the fifth grade when her teacher challenged her to try a new instrument: the bassoon. “As an agreeable student, I said yes, and stuck with it.”
The hum of learning never faded away for Besch. The adjunct professor of bassoon instruction at Nebraska Wesleyan University has been the third bassoon/contrabassoon player with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra for 16 years. On Sunday, February 18, she will play with the symphony piccolo player in a Concerto for Piccolo and Contrabassoon in the Johnny Carson Theatre for two sold-out performances.
“While there is a lot of practice and preparation that goes into obtaining an orchestra job, there is also a great deal of lucky timing,” says Besch. “When I moved to Lincoln, I found out that there was a bassoon position open with the symphony. Since there are only three bassoonists with the group, it was a rare opportunity.”
The Lincoln Symphony Orchestra performs large masterworks at the Lied Center and smaller, family concerts at NWU’s O’Donnell Auditorium. Musicians practice on their own and then rehearse together 2-5 days before performances.
Besch says orchestra work is often supplemented by teaching. “Many of us like myself in the (Lincoln Symphony) Orchestra balance a full schedule of being a mom, practicing music, teaching, and playing with as many different music groups that will have us.”
From teaching at NWU to playing in the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, her passion has hit all the right notes. “Some amazing opportunities have included Nebraska Chamber Players, The Nutcracker, and the Omaha Symphony,” Besch says. “It’s not impossible to have made these musical connections without having been a LSO member, but it would have taken a lot more work.”