The well-known Otterbein-Capital rivalry doesn't carry over to their orchestras, which recently formed a collaboration.
For the 2021-2022 school year, the two universities will have their orchestras working together to help improve both groups. The collaboration formed due to the lack of string members in Capital's orchestra, causing them to reach out to Otterbein so that the two orchestras could work together. This way Otterbein's string orchestra could do a full symphony and Capital can have a full amount of strings.
This collaborative orchestra, known as the OtterCap orchestra, has been met with a lot of positive feedback from both students and staff. Jim Bates, a professor at Otterbein and the conductor for OtterCap, said "When this was purposed last spring, I took it to the orchestra and said 'hey, we're thinking this might be happening, how do you feel about that?' and it was really 100 percent positive." Bates said he was initially worried not all of the Otterbein students would be on board with this, especially non-majors, but was happy to see how enthusiastic they were.
One of the biggest reasons for the excitement is that many of the Otterbein members haven't had a chance to do symphony orchestra in college outside of the Westerville Symphony. Davis Hoam, a junior at Otterbein and a violinist for the OtterCap, said "At least for me and probably for most of the strings in the Otterbein orchestra, this is our first time doing symphony stuff in college."
Last year COVID restrictions made performances difficult since everyone had to individually record their piece before trying to compile it all together, so to be able to come back together and go from working on pieces that only use string instruments to a full symphony inspired a lot of excitement in the Otterbein students.
The two schools are known as cross-town rivals when it comes to sports, but off the field, the sense of rivalry doesn't heavily affect the relationship between its students. Rourke Croswell, a Capital student and cellist in the orchestra, said "All the students have been very welcoming to the small little family at Capital... It's pretty much been cooperative since day one."
This program has been very well received by both halves of the OtterCap orchestra. While it's not certain if this collaboration will continue in the future, students from both schools have said they'd like to see it continue.