The Hastings Symphony Orchestra’s next concert will feature students from Hastings College


HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – The Hastings Symphony Orchestra Young Artists and Youth Concert on Sunday, February 27, features Hastings College student Maria Pytlik, who was selected as the winner of the Young Artists Competition who s is being held earlier this year, and the symphony will be performing a piece composed by student Benjamin Howie.

The concert begins at 3:00 p.m. at the Masonic Center Auditorium (411 N Hastings Ave.). Tickets cost between $18 and $20 for adults, and all students are admitted free.

HSO’s biennial Young Artist Competition held for Hastings College students saw four music majors compete – Kendall Greene (alto saxophone) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Benjamin Howie (piano) from Hastings, Nebraska; Karl Ludwig (tenor saxophone) from La Junta, Colorado; and Maria Pytlik (trumpet) from Brainard, Nebraska. The contest judges were Dr. Timothy Farrell and Dr. Mirim Kim from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

“All four had wonderful performances, and the judges said they were impressed with the talent on display,” said Dr. Byron Jensen, professor of music at Hastings College and director of HSO. “Maria was selected as the winner, and the piece she will perform with the symphony is an energetic and popular piece.”

Pytlik, a sophomore majoring in Music Education and Trumpet Performance, will perform Alexander Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto with the HSO. This concerto is famous for its bravado and intensity, Jensen said.

Pytlik started playing the trumpet at age five and began taking lessons with Brad Obbink in Lincoln, Nebraska a few years later. During the decade of working with Obbink, Pytlik said she pushed herself to be a better musician, and performed solos at the Catholic Social Services Trumpet Fest and volunteered as a designated bugler for the Brainard American Legion. She received the Nebraska Young Artist Award and was consecutively third, second and first chair trumpet in the Nebraska All State Band. She was also a finalist in the Lincoln Municipal Band’s 2020 John Shildneck Young Artist Competition. At Hastings College, she takes lessons from Dr. Louie Eckhardt, assistant professor of music and conductor of orchestras, and is the first president of the Hastings College Band , and Assistant First and Fourth President of the HSO.

HSO will also present a world premiere composed by Howie entitled “Dark Intentions”. Howie, a senior music student, adds a quote from Mark Twain: “Everyone has a moon, and has a dark side that they never show to anyone.” The piece mixes ideas taken from works by other composers (all in the public domain), including the famous “Dies irae” heard in the requiem masses. It ends with an uplifting hymn.

Jensen said the HSO’s program for this concert also includes Antonin Dvoark’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, commonly referred to as “From the New World”.

More information about the HSO can be found at

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