Each year, the Troy High School orchestra and the Orchestra Association of Troy High host a winter gala to raise money to support the school’s music program throughout the year.

Each year, the Troy High School orchestra and the Orchestra Association of Troy High host a winter gala to raise money to support the school’s music program throughout the year.

Photo provided by Erika Kwok

Troy High orchestra, OATH to host 30th annual Gala Concert Fundraiser

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published January 25, 2023


TROY — The Troy High School orchestra program is inviting the community to join them for the 30th annual Gala Concert Fundraiser.

Offered in order to raise money for the orchestra program, the event’s proceeds will go toward resources such as competition costs, travel costs and fees for music camps.

“Troy High is known for our musicians,” said Wendy Stuart, the orchestra director at Troy High School. “They are offering a wide variety of music. There will be several chamber ensembles being featured. The soloists will be amazing. We’re bringing the gala back the way it has been in the past. There will be a great afterglow period after the performances as well, where a number of local restaurants and businesses have provided food and a silent auction. It will be a great night out in support of our Troy High orchestra students.”

Local reporter and Troy High alumnus Roop Raj will take part as the master of ceremonies. The event is hosted by the Orchestra Association of Troy High, or OATH, a booster organization that supports the high school’s orchestra program.

“OATH is a parent and community-supported nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help support students in all the Troy High School orchestras,” OATH coordinator Erika Kwok said in an email. “All OATH members are volunteers.” She said Troy High School supports five performing groups: freshman, concert, philharmonic and symphony orchestras, and the Country Fiddlers performing ensemble. Under the direction of Wendy Stuart, the orchestras “inspire and amaze their audiences with the exceptional quality and maturity of their performances,” she said in the email.

The gala will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, in the auditorium of Troy High School, located at 4777 Northfield Parkway.

“As I joined the staff at Troy High School I was blown away by the size of the program and the support it gets from the school and its boosters,” said Stuart. “The gala is a perfect type of fundraiser. It supports students and provides a great evening for our supporters.”

Three of the orchestras will premiere a concerto written for the evening by alumnus Stephen Castiglione. Also featured will be guest pianist Tian Tian, who will perform the Yellow River Piano Concerto by Chinese composer Xian.

“The guests we’re inviting include a Troy High graduate who is now playing in the West Michigan Symphony and has composed a work they will be playing. We also will have a piano soloist, and she will play a famous song named the Yellow River Concerto. We are all looking forward to it.”

“The music world is a small world, so a performer, Stephen Castiglione, was playing with me at the Midland Symphony,” added Stuart. “I found out he was a Troy High graduate, the Class of 2017. I thought he would be a great person to invite to perform with the students. He is getting his master’s degree in basic performance at the University of Michigan. When we were speaking about what he could play, he asked if he could write a piece for it himself.”

Stuart was even more excited to have Tian Tian play with the orchestra, since she had been an admirer of her work for quite a while.

“The other performer is Tian Tian, and she is one of the piano professors at Oakland University,” said Stuart. “Some years ago, we performed the Yellow River piece with the Oakland Symphony. It was so special. It stuck with me. It’s an enjoyable piece to perform, and her playing was so dynamic and spectacular. When I was looking for a soloist, she was one of my first choices. She was unavailable last year, but was able to come in this year. I wanted to give students and the community the experience of hearing a piece that is not commonly performed and done by such a masterful performer.”

Kwok said that some of the programs the gala helps support include participation in state, regional and national competitions, travel to various festivals and seminars throughout the year, and “string camp” in September, which is a musical education, leadership and team-building experience.

“The funds raised go toward OATH, which supports students through bringing in guest performers, opportunities to attend musical camps for students, funding for our annual trips, renting instruments when that is necessary,” explained Stuart. “A lot goes into running a band, and our boosters are a great group of people who support our kids.”

Immediately following the concert will be hors d’oeuvres, desserts and refreshments that will be served thanks to more than 40 local eateries, including Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Fuji Japanese Buffet, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Noori Chicken. Both Kwok and Stuart said it is a great evening for the entire community that will help support local musical education.

“Enjoy an evening out showcasing some of the most talented youth musicians in Michigan,” Kwok wrote. “The award winning Troy High School Orchestra welcomes the community to their 30th Anniversary Gala featuring student performances, and an afterglow that serves food from more than 40 restaurants in the Troy area. And our concert special guests include Tian Tian, concert pianist and Stephen Castiglione on bass. All funds benefit the Troy High Orchestra and help support this wonderful program going forward.”