President, Audience Have Fun With ‘Peter & the Wolf’ Performance

By Purnell T. Cropper | November 11, 2011

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra’s performance of  Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf last weekend marked the first appearance in concert by Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III in many years, and his first as a narrator in this video about the performance.

His career as a singer began in Rosemont, Pa., in third grade in the boy choir of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and continued with the Meistersingers of Radnor High School, where he was a first tenor. He sang for four years in the Amherst College Glee Club, one of the nation’s preeminent men’s a cappella singing groups, often as a soloist. (Photos from the Peter & the Wolf performance.)

He was able to go on two international singing tours with the Glee Club during his college years, which took him to more than 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Today, he is the Twentieth President of Arcadia University, a national leader in global education, having taken office on Aug. 1, 2011.

He and his wife, Kim, took their two sons, now 29 and 27, to concerts like this when they were young; and they actually have a painting of Peter and the Wolf hung in their home.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra’s arrival on campus comes in its 40th anniversary season. The Nov. 5 concert also included Debussy’s ethereal Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Copland’s American masterpiece.

Talk Back

Arcadia University staff members who attended the concert had this to say:

“It was a lovely evening filled with beautiful music. President Oxholm was a fantastic narrator of Peter & the Wolf my children and I truly enjoyed it,” says Christine Murphy.

“It was a wonderful event. The music was superb [and] Tobey’s narration of Peter & the Wolf was as full of expression as the music. My mother, my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Looking forward to the next one,” says Mimi Bassetti.

“It’s great to see such an established orchestra now affiliated with Arcadia. I’m looking forward to attending more concerts in the future,” says JoLynne Bremmer.

“It was terrific to have a classical music performance on the Arcadia campus; something I hope we can see more of in the future. My daughters and I enjoyed all three movements and found President Oxholm to be the perfect narrator for Peter & the Wolf,” says Mike Hertel.

“Saturday’s symphony orchestra concert was a first for my family. The SPSO musicians were superb and their selections were excellent, especially for younger children. My daughter and son particularly enjoyed President Oxholm’s narration of Peter & the Wolf. We hope to attend future SPSO events at Arcadia,”  says Julia Levy.

Upcoming Concerts

Two concerts are scheduled to take place in the new Commons in spring 2012.

  • SPSO Winds & Brass Benefit Performance—Feb. 4, at 8 p.m.
    The virtuosity of SPSO winds and brass brings masterworks and rarely heard gems as part of a benefit performance for SPSO. From Handle’s Royal Fireworks to works by Richard Strauss, Holst, and Bach, the evening is a perfect winter’s retreat.
  • SPSO Shostakovic and Beethoven—April 14, at 8 p.m.
    Internationally renowned Romanian Cellist Ovidiu Marinescu performs Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto. SPSO concludes the 40th anniversary season with Beethoven’s uplifting and rousing Symphony No. 2.

President Oxholm on Peter & The Wolf: “The Music Was Grand, The People Were Magnificent”