Dear Patrons and Supporters,
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra is committed to the health and safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and our community at large. We have been monitoring the progress of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, listening to the advice of the medical and public community and evaluating steps to safeguard the health and safety of all involved.
LaGrange College, our venue host, has closed the campus to all external groups until March 30th. We support this decision as we believe it is the correct and safe thing to do right now for the health and well-being of our patrons and musicians. As a result, we will reschedule our Tuesday, March 24th concert, Sounds of Storytelling, and our Tuesday, March 31st concert, Youth Symphony.
The rescheduled dates are yet to be determined, pending the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We will keep you up-to-date as those details are confirmed. All concert tickets will be valid at that time and will be honored at the rescheduled concert dates. Please see our additional details listed below for concerns you may have.
We greatly appreciate your support and patience at this uncertain time!
Raylene M. Carter
LSO Executive Director
Still have questions? See the FAQ’s below:
Q. Should the outbreak continue and worsen, will the April 28th concert be rescheduled?
A. At this time, our March 24th concert will be rescheduled. The timing of the new date will be determined once we have clearance to utilize our concert venue and better understand the situation in our community. We will be in contact with all ticket holders as soon as we have more information to share.
We will prioritize the health of our audience members, musicians, and staff members by implementing and communicating appropriate changes as required by our venue host, LaGrange College, and recommended by the State of Georgia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure a safe environment for all involved.
A decision regarding the April 28th concert, Sounds of Home, will be made within the next two weeks.
Q. Will my concert tickets be honored for the rescheduled date?
A. Absolutely! Your tickets for Sounds of Storytelling will be valid and will be honored at the rescheduled concert date. Please hold onto your current tickets.
Q. What if I am unable to attend a rescheduled concert date?
A. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience the rescheduling may cause you. The cancellation of various public events will have very real financial consequences for artistic programs such as ours. Your willingness to transfer your ticket to a donation or credit for a future concert will support the LSO during these uncertain times and we appreciate your consideration. If you are unable to attend, we ask you to consider gifting your tickets to a friend or donating your tickets back to the LSO for a tax-deduction letter and the opportunity to gift your seats to a student.
Value exchanges will be made available upon request. We will be contacting all ticket holders with more details in the coming weeks as the current situation allows us to make appropriate decisions.
Additional questions and concerns should be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706.882.0662
Our staff will be working remotely as much as possible during this time; however, we will respond to all email or telephone inquiries is a timely manner.
Thank you for your continued support. Stay safe!
Sounds of Storytelling, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s March 24th concert, is packed with excitement! Beginning with Red Rhythmico by Mosier, and Summer Dances by Balmages, the LSO will be presenting these two selections, in their annual side-by-side with the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra (LSYO). This experience is an important step in the student’s musical education and is not taken lightly. The LSYO students are directed by Celeste Myall, and are always expertly prepared. Each year, we have high expectations from these students, and our expectations are always exceeded.
Also on the program, are two… yes, two guest soloists. They are both first-place winners of the Young Artists Competition (YAC). The 2019 YAC for Winds winner, Connor Holland, will perform Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. Then, Melody Sim, who is the 2020 YAC for Strings winner, will perform the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra began the Young Artists Competition in 1996 to encourage professional standards of performance among young musicians. Originally formed to serve residents or resident students within a 50 mile radius of LaGrange, the competition now serves talented young musicians from six southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Connor Holland and Melody Sim both earned the Dorothy Allen Turner Award for first place in their respective years. The YAC competition rotates through competitions for strings, winds, and piano in separate years.
Fourth in the program of this wonderful concert, will be Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, narrated by Carol Cain. Everyone loves a charming family-friendly story, and this one was written in 1936 by one of the greatest twentieth century composers. A wonderful opportunity to hear many of our LSO musicians featured as soloists playing the different characters in the story! This symphonic tale is a great time for parents and grandparents to introduce their children and grandchildren to live classical, orchestral music. Share your passion for music, it may open up a whole new world.
The LSO artistic director/conductor is Dr. Richard Prior. Concert starts at 7:30 PM Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 in Callaway Auditorium on the campus of LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA. Get your tickets HERE.
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that two of our musicians will be performing in an upcoming recital on February 25th. As part of a new series of FREE concerts at LaGrange College on Tuesday afternoons, the next concert highlights the Tea Ollie Trio. The Tea Ollie Trio consists of Ashley Hawkins, piano, Callie Hammond, violin (LSO musician), and Tessa Scanlon, cello (LSO musician). They will be performing works by Widor, Piazolla, Schoenfield, and Dvorak.
The place to be on Tuesday February 25th, 4:30 PM is Beason Recital Hall at the Westside Music Department of LaGrange College. This will be a remarkable concert and we hope you can join us, and spread the word! Congratulations to all three fine musicians.
A Patron commented this concert as being, “The very best Christmas concert yet!!” Others wholeheartedly agree with them.
Friends and family gathered for the LSO holiday concert, Sounds of Peace, with smiles, hugs, and happy chatter. The lobby had a special delight as “The Soundpost,” a group formed by members of the LSYO, under the direction of Celeste Myall, serenaded the Patrons with pre-concert holiday classics. They warmed hearts as everyone came in from the cold. This was an extra-touch that greatly added to the holiday atmosphere. The excitement of a sold-out house paired with the wonderful program line-up was clear throughout the auditorium. The buzz of happy conversation gave way to anticipatory quiet within an instant, as the concert was about to start.
(click images to enlarge, or read this on the review page HERE.)
A little different in this concert, the musicians were positioned forward on the stage making room for the choir risers behind them for later in the program. Stage setup is an art to give the audience the best possible experience and here they had to balance a large choir, symphony, a piano, and six soloists!
Beginning with two selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite No. 1, the holiday stage was indeed set with Miniature Overture and March. The brass and woodwind were notably wonderful in both pieces, but especially in the Tchaikovsky March.
Leroy Anderson’s cheerful Sleigh Ride was next. Being one of the world’s most popular holiday compositions, this piece was surprisingly written during a heatwave. One can only believe that a heatwave would require even greater holiday imagery. The steady rhythm of sleigh bells painted a wonderful wintry picture. Complete with whipcracks and horse whinny the scene was joyful and carefree.
Changing the mood for the next piece, the pastoral Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams was introspective and, of course, very English. Inspired by the traditional ‘Greensleeves’, Fantasia on Greensleeves was originally part of the opera Sir John in Love. Beginning with flute and harp together it gave a calm sense of peace and led into the theme’s melody which flowed effortlessly and loftily through the strings.
Sandwiched by another of Leroy Andersons pieces, next came A Christmas Festival. Taking several of the best-known Christmas themes, Anderson melded them into an overture. Cheerful and bright, he captured the full gamut of the holiday in a single seamless piece, which the musicians performed brilliantly.
After a very brief pause while the impressive choir came onstage, the audience was included in the traditional sing-along. Then they were given a premier performance of the newly orchestrated version of Nativity Carol by Prior. Originally penned in 2002, Dr. Prior re-orchestrated it for a larger symphony, which we were given the honor of hearing first. If you kept a copy of the program, you will find the words to this carol on page 3, upon which you may want to reflect. They include lovely words of calm, safety, and of course, darkness turned into light by a tender babe. The Choral Society of West Georgia brought these words to life, and the LSO highlighted them with the beautiful composition. It was inspiring and delightful and was rewarded with hearty applause from the audience.
Lastly, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy finished the evening with majesty and power. Andrew Harry performed the impressive concerto on piano with the LSO. Together, with soloists Andrea Mueller, Brenda Frye, Toni Anderson, Ed Biggs, Johnathan Pilkington, James Camp, the Choral Society of West Georgia and the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra nailed this larger-than-life piece and gave the audience a powerhouse performance. It was wonderful. The entire concert was a success and the audience appreciated it with a standing ovation. The evening definitely ended on a high note.
Here are a few more photos from the evening:
May your holiday be uplifting and colored with the sounds of Peace, Love, and Harmony. Thank you for supporting the arts, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
October 29th, 2019
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s 30th Anniversary celebration continued through this concert, as president Kaye Lanning Minchew paid tribute to the musicians that played in the very first LSO concert, 30 years ago. Several members of that original orchestra were in attendance and were individually recognized.
Sam Lee, who was on that first roster, was additionally thanked for his work throughout these 30 years and is now one of the youth program instructors. His students, as well as all the LSYO students, will be performing their full LSYO Fall Concert on November 12, 2019. You will be amazed at the level these young musicians have achieved in their music studies.
The Sounds of Dance evening began slowly and quietly, with a single snare drum rhythm. It was Ravel’s Bolero, which is a set of eighteen interpretations of one original theme. Usually a snare drum is associated with a march, however Ravel used the snare drum here as the foundation for a ballet in 1928 Paris. Bolero showcased various instruments and combinations of instruments. Utilizing numerous LSO soloists, the music continually and purposefully built presence throughout. The snare drum moved steadily with increasing volume and number of instruments involved in the theme. It all culminated at the very end, rather abruptly, but effectively. The audience loved it.
In contrast, the next piece centered the instrumentation on the single voice of the oboe. Blending beautifully, the LSO kept the focus on the soloist. Piazzolla’s Oblivion, an Argentine tango, is sultry and quietly dramatic. The depth and complex mix of emotions in this piece came through with the oboe. Piazzolla performed this piece himself as soloist on the accordion-like bandeon. He also arranged it for other instrumentation seeing its vast potential. An Argentine tango is danced differently than what you are probably used to seeing. It has no basic step but is danced entirely with improvisation and usually in close embrace. Oblivion is one of Piazzola’s most frequently performed tangos, and equally well-loved by listeners and dancers alike.
Next was Danzon No. 2 from the Mexican composer, Marquez. This was wonderfully performed, beginning with clarinet as smooth as tempered chocolate underlined with a simple Latin rhythm, again relying heavily on percussion. The music modulates and becomes more energetic. Progressing through numerous tempo and flavor changes, its saucy brilliance was engaging, with more solos! The audience exploded with approval, this piece was dynamic, beautifully executed, and noticeably fun to perform.
After intermission the LSO moved through Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances nos. 5-8. Originally written as a request for ‘chamber music of folk flavor’, Dvorak orchestrated them after seeing how popular they were. Performing the last four of a set of eight dances, these beautiful dances are gently expressive.
In high contrast, next came Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo, a Western ballet, evoking high-spirited cowboys and cowgirls, rollicking fun, and high adventure. Dancing through four ideas, the evening ended with the familiar and energetic Hoe-Down.
This concert may have opened in a quiet and meandering fashion, but it ended at full gallop! This was a great concert, and an extensive sampling of moods through dance music. Here are some photos of pre-concert preparations backstage, along with a few quick Patron snapshots before the lights dimmed.
The next LSO concert, Sounds of Peace, is an uplifting holiday concert on December 10th at 7:30 p.m. at Callaway Auditorium in LaGrange, GA and will delight and dazzle. It includes a thrilling collaboration between the LSO, the Choral Society of West Georgia and pianist, Andrew Harry in the presentation of Beethoven’s fantastic Choral Fantasy! It is a magnificent composition that joyfully showcases the orchestra, piano and chorus. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience such a powerful work and be filled with the holiday spirit.
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
Arturo Marquez is a Mexican composer known for the wonderful use of Latin styling in his music. Danzon No. 2, is one of the featured pieces in Sounds of Dance, which is a collection of engaging symphonic works to be performed by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, Tuesday October 29th, 2019, 7:30 p.m. at Callaway Auditorium in LaGrange, Georgia. This piece, Danzon No. 2, is inspired by a Cuban dance and music style of the same name, and is highly anticipated with LSO ticket-holders. It includes a hypnotic clave rhythm pattern, varied melody theme, and frequent shifts in dynamics. This music is irresistible in the best possible way. The Sounds of Dance concert will inspire you when you experience it LIVE – don’t miss it! A wonderful evening of great music!
There are still seats available for this engaging concert. Seats and tickets can be viewed and purchased HERE.
The evocative Argentine tango, composed by Astor Piazzolla, Oblivion will be performed by the LSO, along with other wonderfully compelling sounds of dance, at the October 29th concert. The motion of music will be explored and celebrated. Join us and experience music’s ability to be irresistible. The union between music and dance is fundamental to the human cultural experience and permeates our entire history. This concert also includes the inimitable Bolero by Ravel, Danzon No. 2 by Marquez, a selection of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and Copland’s irrepressibly joyful Four Dance Episodes from the ballet Rodeo.
Concert begins at 7:30 PM October 29th at the beautiful Callaway Auditorium on the campus of LaGrange College, LaGrange, Georgia. Tickets are available HERE.
The Youth Quintet has entered LaGrange has Talent!
Everyone can watch the video and vote at
It is $1 to vote, and you can vote until October 31st.
Thirty years and counting!
The LSO 2019/20 season opened to a full house September 24, 2019, with the traditional, vibrant rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The Sounds of Drama concert was a salute to LaGrange College and their close relationship to the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. LSO Executive Director, Raylene Carter, explained in her concert comments that the origin of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra is attributed to three men: Dr. Harry Kruger, conductor emeritus of the Columbus Symphony, Dr. David Naglee, LaGrange College professor, and Dr. Walter Y. Murphy, then President of LaGrange College. She went on to describe the immeasurable support that the College has given the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra during these past thirty years. This support continues today with Dr. Dan McAlexander, current LaGrange College president. The LSO gratefully acknowledges and appreciates LaGrange College. We look forward to the next 30 years.
The first half of this concert showcased themes from several recent dramatic films: Star Wars (Williams), E.T.(Williams), Star Trek (Goldsmith), and Pirates of the Caribbean (Badelt). Film scores are obviously written for very specific dramatization. The music behind the action is extremely important in its persuasive impact on the audience. Each of these themes represented are synonymous with their movie counterparts. Some themes rise to their own fame beyond the context of the drama, and are adapted, or re-worked, to be stand-alone pieces, suitable for concert performance. The selections in this program are great examples with their driving percussion, majestic brass-section power, epic swells and influential, recurring melodies. They are widely popular and easily recognizable. Hearing and feeling this music performed live by a quality orchestra like the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra is something that cannot be duplicated in a recording. LSO patrons appreciate the authenticity of hearing great music in this context.
The evening continued with Gabriel’s Oboe (Morricone), the emotionally rich main theme from the 1986 film The Mission. The theme is unique in this movie because the main character plays this song on the oboe as part of the story line. Elisa Lyle, LSO Principal flute performed the solo beautifully. Elisa is a founding musician with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra and is the only member to have continually served with the Orchestra to this date. The audience loved her performance and enthusiastically showed their appreciation. (See photo below)
The two marches in the program were from very different films. Dambusters March (Coates), a wonderfully patriotic piece, is from a film depicting the historic event in May 1943 during World War II in which bomber pilots deliver bouncing bombs to destroy German dams. The second march comes from an early sci-fi movie, Things to Come (Bliss). This piece begins in full suspense mode, dark and questioning. It moves through formidable drama, and finally becomes triumphant. Both pieces are expertly composed with wonderful layers that can only be achieved through great orchestration in the writing and in the interpretation and delivery on stage. Wonderful blending through each section of the orchestra gave the audience a terrific rendition of each.
The second half of the program included slightly different works. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas was composed as a symphonic poem. Its drama was entirely created with music without the support of actors or visual imagery. It was so highly regarded, that Disney later used it, in their animated concert film Fantasia. The quality of the piece, no matter how great the orchestration, is directly dependent upon on the delivery. The LSO delivered with amazing cohesion. An impressive piece with truly gorgeous and crisp playing. This was a spellbinding performance.
The finale for the evening was the Firebird Suite, which was composed by Igor Stravinsky, for ballet in 1910. This ballet blended two Russian legends, the stories of the Firebird and Kashchei the Immortal. The ballet was a great success for the 27-year-old composer. This was his largest composition at that time in his career. Stravinsky re-orchestrated the piece in 1919 for smaller orchestras, exactly 100 years ago. A centenary celebrated with this performance. (photos below, soloists are individually recognized)
(below, final standing ovation)
We often comment on the dynamic abilities of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, always tonally on-point and blended carefully. The textures demonstrated in this concert were impressive. The voices both small and grandiose, often within the same piece, were smooth and sculpted. Great performance. We are looking forward to Sounds of Dance on October 29th.
Here is a slideshow of some of the beautiful people who attended this concert and the post-concert reception.
The LSO’s season opening concert “Sounds of Drama” was dramatic, entertaining, and musically excellent. The full program included an anniversary treat, special to this concert. Elisa Lyle, Principal flutist, was highlighted performing a beautiful solo in Gabriel’s Oboe from the 1986 movie The Mission. Ms. Lyle is the only member who played in the very first concert, and has remained with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra ever since. In this photo, Ms. Lyle is warmly recognized, while the audience showed great appreciation during the concert. Thank you, Elisa, and everyone involved in making opening night such a success! Look for more photos and concert comments to be posted soon.
As the new anniversary season opens, the pre-season offer of “season ticket-sets,” will end! You have until Tuesday to take advantage of the significant savings that these ticket-sets give. They are a pre-season offer of concert entrance, with the same seats guaranteed to all five concerts in this anniversary season. After Tuesday, only individual concert tickets will be for sale. Here is a link to secure your season tickets:
Filled with DRAMA!
The anniversary season will open with some of the rarer gems from the silver screen, including Eric Coates’ music from 1955’s The Dambusters and Arthur Bliss’ march from the 1936 classic Things to Come. Both were lauded as composers of classical music as well as renowned film composers. The first half of the program also includes music from Pirates of the Caribbean, E.T., the beautifully lyrical Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission and of course, the main theme from Star Wars. The evening continues with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (used for the wonderful Disney classic of the same name) and concludes with a 100-year anniversary performance of Stravinsky’s electrifying Firebird Suite of 1919!
Very dramatic and sure to please. A great opportunity to introduce someone new to LIVE Symphonic music.
“Season tickets” are actually a full “set” of tickets spanning the entire LaGrange Symphony Orchestra concert season. For one special price you get tickets for ALL five concerts, which is a substantial savings over individual tickets. Our special 30th Anniversary Season begins September 24th, 2019 and continues through April 28th 2020. Season ticket holders are guaranteed their same seat for each of the five concerts. As one of the added benefits for season ticket holders, you are allowed first choice to get your same seat when it comes time to renew.
Currently, only SEASON Tickets are on sale. We are graciously holding current Season Ticket Patron’s seats for them until August 23rd. If you are a current (2018/19) Season Ticket holder, and would like to get your same seats, please contact our office at 706-882-0662. All unclaimed seats will be released for new purchases after August 23rd and can be purchased normally online. Season ticket availability will continue only until September 24th, 2019.
Don’t delay in securing your seat for this wonderful 30th Anniversary Season. New season ticket “sets” can be easily purchased online HERE.
Ticket Sales for individual concerts will OPEN – BEGINNING: September 5th, 2019 and continue throughout the season.
The LSYO is entered in the Summer Showcase on Thursday, July 18 at the LaGrange mall. The showcase is from 2:00PM – 5:00PM with our students performing at 4:10 at the mall.
We also NEED you to VOTE ONLINE for us for the City Favorite Award – it is a tight contest.
click here to VOTE for LSYO
under Arts and Entertainment.
Our youth have put quite a lot of effort into this event and would really appreciate your support, so please remember to vote. Better yet, just go ahead and vote RIGHT NOW.
The PLANETS – April 23, 2019
Refined! Did not disappoint!
A grand finale concert brings with it an expectation of “that little something extra,” which can’t easily be described. Tuesday’s concert of Holst’s The Planets, by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, was special in that sense. The way I would attempt to illustrate this indescribable “something extra”, comes actually from the audience. This diverse combination of students, families, out-of-town guests, first-timers, and seasoned classical enthusiasts had their entire attention on what the stage was producing. Not just listening, but immersed in each moment. When you have around 500 people in one room, and you can audibly experience silence when the music uses it, or the whisper of the faintest pianissimo or pianisissimo, that’s extraordinary. This music held your attention that way, suspending it in space.
The Planets symphony, is often presented in separated parts, but here, was presented in its entirety. Along with keeping this concert true in context to how Holst intended it to be performed, care was taken in many aspects of its interpretation. The responsibility is a huge undertaking. Being an early 20th century composition, we have more insight into this seven-movement suite, than a manuscript from the 1700’s, but it’s still a mind-boggling challenge. Requiring an astounding number of musicians, and unfamiliar instruments added to the demanding nature of this symphony.
As an over-view, you would think that The Planets would be presented in order from the sun, but that is not the case. Holst was more concerned with musical balance and so he put the dynamics of the movements, as a whole, in the order that made sense for a performance.
The LSO, under the masterful direction of Dr. Richard Prior, interpreted this music beautifully. From the public pre-concert comments, the anticipation of the musicians in performing this music was just as high as the anticipation of the patrons waiting to hear it. With almost eighty musicians on stage, the compiled focus on the music was breathtaking. The result, too, was well-deserving of their standing ovation. Well done, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. Bravo.
Each year seems to bring an enhanced level to the LSO performances. This next season begins the Anniversary celebration of having completed 30 years of musical excellence in our community, and we are all looking forward to its announcement. Expectations are high and inquiries about season tickets have already begun. If you are not familiar with the process, season tickets are a pre-season offer of a guaranteed seat at every concert and at a great savings. Season tickets are expected to go on sale in early summer and are only offered for a specified period of time. After that, you must wait until the next season to take advantage of the season ticket offer.
See this review with large photos in the 2018/19 Reviews section of this website HERE.
Here is a slideshow of some of the beautiful people who attended.
Thank you for supporting the arts and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will present Gustav Holst’s The PLANETS on Tuesday, April 23, 7:30 PM in Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange, GA. This will be the grand finale concert of the 2018/19 season and this epic piece will be performed in its entirety, with seven movements. Written between 1914 and 1916, it has greatly influenced other artists, especially composers, so you may recognize some of its passages. One composer who has drawn much inspiration from this epic piece was John Williams, known for his film scores. (In 2017 the LSO performed a widely appealing tribute to John Williams entitled Embrace the Silver Screen.)
The seven movements in Gustav Holst’s The PLANETS represent each of the planets in our solar system that could be seen from Earth. The planets being Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto was not in the mix at that time. Here is a visual representation of the scale of these planets. In 1991, the term “Dwarf Planet” was coined to ease the turmoil over whether Pluto was a planet or not. Never-the-less, this symphony contains seven tremendous movements.
Each audible representation is astoundingly unique. This spectacular symphony will leave you awe inspired and will progress through the solar system in this fashion:
- Mars, the Bringer of War
- Venus, the Bringer of Peace
- Mercury, the Winged Messenger
- Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
- Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
- Uranus, the Magician
- Neptune, the Mystic
Don’t miss this grand finale concert. It will be out-of-this-world!
See this with larger photos in the 2018/19 review section of this website HERE.
An Evening of MOZART – Classic Event
“I couldn’t miss this [concert], Mozart is my absolute favorite composer.”
The evening of Mozart began with two additional pieces added to the program for the annual “side-by-side.” This is the time of year, when members of the Youth Orchestra (LSYO) are paired with professional musicians. They physically sit beside them, play the same music, and react to the same cues from the conductor. This has proven to be a very valuable learning experience for the students. At this concert, we heard the LSYO string sections. The full Youth Orchestra with strings, wind, brass, and percussion, will perform their spring concert Tuesday, March 26th, 7:00 PM at Callaway Auditorium.
Dr. Prior explained that beginning with Reed’s Suite Concertante was by special choice for the side-by-side, since the Reed pieces were great for warming up the strings. He also took time to recognize and thank the LSYO director, Celeste Myall. Each year, the students’ preparedness is outstanding due to their hard work, guidance, and direction. Celeste was also later presented with a bouquet of flowers as a gesture of great appreciation. In this first photo, LSYO director, Celeste Myall, watches her students on stage with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
The Nimrod variation of Elgar’s Enigma Variations is always an audience favorite, and it also seemed to be a favorite with the LSYO musicians. What a beautiful piece, and a beautiful sound the orchestra produced for all the selections. They gave a fine performance! We have so many talented young musicians in our community, or is it our musical community encouraging such musicianship in our youth? Either way, we have something special.
Continuing, after a slight stage rearrangement, the LSO now began the “Evening of Mozart” with the classic Overture to the Marriage of Figaro. An overture to an opera is played at the very beginning, before the curtain goes up, and is meant to set-the-stage (in music) for the acts that follow. Often, passages heard in the overture return later in the production. This particular overture, however, is a standalone composition. Its melodies aren’t found in the rest of the dramatic acts, but rather, they suggest the overall theme and feeling of the opera. What a great way to begin the opera and our Mozart celebration! This music is anticipatory, joyful, fast, and furious and the LSO performed it brilliantly.
Next was Mozart’s glorious, and sometimes playful, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, featuring Jessica Stinson, LSO principal second violin as soloist. What great projection! Every nuance in this music could be heard, from the tiniest flutter to perfect double and triple stops. This was Jessica’s debut solo performance, and the audience wants to hear more. Played with richness, warmth and precise technique, she showed us why this is a great concerto.
After intermission came the beloved Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It includes four great movements played by strings. This is what I think of as classic Mozart, noble, structured, and balanced as it would be for a dance. There is no substitute for hearing it live, though, especially with the LSO in our wonderful, acoustically-rich auditorium. This was a joy to hear.
Last, but not least on this full program, was Symphony No. 25 in G minor, written when Mozart was merely 17 years old. Surprisingly, this was his first symphony in a minor key. Dramatic, stormy, and with sudden changes in tempo, this symphony progresses through four movements. Turning quiet and thoughtful, and then into a minuet movement, it returns with another expressive movement that includes some new syncopation. Precise, as always, the LSO handled this challenge with grace and ease.
If you missed this concert, you missed a gem. There is one more concert in this season and it will be an awesome grand finale. Mark your calendars for April 23rd when the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will present The Planets, by Gustav Holst in its entirety. Don’t miss this opportunity!
See this review with large photos in the 2018/19 review section of this website HERE.
Here are a few more candid photos from this event.
Only the term “Mozart” is needed to identify this great composer/musician/conductor, but you know exactly who we are talking about. Some call him Wolfgang Amadeus for short, but his full name is much longer. There is no question about to which Mozart we are referring when we say just the last name. Mozart’s work will be the center of attention March 19th at the concert of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. This performance beginning at 7:30 PM at Callaway auditorium, features his Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Symphony No. 25 in G minor.
This concert will include two additional pieces providing side-by-side performance time for our Youth Orchestra members. This annual event pairs a LSYO member with one of our professional musicians for one or two pieces. This experience has proven to be very valuable to our students and also to the audience. You will be amazed at the tonal quality and the level of technique achieved by our music program members. The two pieces they will perform are Elgar’s Enigma Variations, op. 36 – Nimrod, and selections from Reed’s Suite Concertante.
So, about Mozart’s full name? He was baptized Johannes Chrystostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart and he lived from 1756–1791. That is a very full name and March 19th will be a very full program! Don’t wait. Secure your tickets now for this wonderfully classic night of entertainment. Click HERE for tickets.
An Evening of MOZART. The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will be in concert Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 at 7:30 PM in Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange GA. This full evening of classics includes Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Symphony No. 25 in G minor, and Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major all composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).
The performance is slated to begin with two additional pieces which will incorporate the LSYO, side-by-side with the LSO musicians. This gives our young musicians the experience with professional musicians that has proven to be impressive year after year. They will perform Elgar’s Enigma Variations, op. 36 – Nimrod, and selections from Reed’s Suite Concertante.
Violinist Jessica Stinson, special featured artist for this concert, has been hailed by both The State and Free Times (Columbia, South Carolina) as a “thrilling and spectacular” performer with “remarkably mature musicianship”. Jessica has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, with performances in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy and Switzerland. Jessica is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and Rice University. A passionate advocate for music in her community, Jessica currently serves as a teaching artist with the Atlanta Music Project and recently appeared as a featured artist in Challenge the Stats’ Atlanta Launch. She performs regularly with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and was appointed Principal Second Violin of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra in 2017.
Jessica will be performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major. It was written in 1775, by Mozart when he was 19 years old, and within months of writing several other violin concertos. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, however, stands apart. His first four concerto compositions closely follow a common formula, but the fifth, which you will hear during the March 19th concert, breaks away from that and incorporates his own fresh ideas. It beautifully showcases the incredible greatness of the violin and is said to be more smoothly integrated with the orchestra than his previous concertos. It is his most popular for good reason. Mark your calendar, and visit www.lagrangesymphony.org to get tickets and learn more about our organization and our many youth programs. Join us!
A HOLIDAY CONCERT – DECEMBER 11, 2018
A Full and Happy House for LSO Holiday Concert 2018
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert drew a full house on a very chilly winter night on Tuesday December 11th. Smiles were plentiful as Patrons came out of the cold into a warm and inviting lobby that was buzzing with chatter, greetings, hugs and laughter. Filled with long-time friends, new acquaintances, and loving families, this was truly a holiday gathering rich with kindness, affection and good will.
The concert hall was alive with holiday cheer as was the stage with musicians gathering. The LSO, under the direction of Dr. Richard Prior, delivered classics from Leroy Anderson and Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky in the first half of the concert with a heartwarming and happy touch. There is something special about Christmas music and the images they create in your mind’s eye. Sleigh Ride and A Christmas Festival are two pieces that really transport you to a holiday wonderland, especially when you hear them performed live. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite evokes similar feelings and images. Smiles and nods of approval could be seen across the audience when each of the eight sections began. I’m sure there were visions of dancing, presents, mice, and nutcracker soldiers as the suite progressed.
Once intermission began, there was more activity as folks visited, chatted, and discussed the upcoming premiere. The excitement increased as the long procession of singers came in and filled the stage. The two choirs, singing with the LSO in this second half, were the Choral Society of West Georgia, under the direction of Bettie Biggs, and the Lafayette Christian School Chorus, under the direction of Darlene Shaw. The composer, Rob Kirby, a detective with the City of LaGrange, also sings with the Choral Society and was onstage for the performance. This unified choir was 68 strong!
Two compositions premiered, not just one. Glory to God in the Highest was first and Away in a Manger followed. Both were penned by Mr. Kirby. “Very beautiful,” were words used by conductor Richard Prior in introducing the pieces. Both songs praised God in a very radiant and gentle way. Kirby’s orchestration of the instruments with SATB voices was heavenly. The audience was captivated and exploded with applause at their conclusion.
Dr. Prior invited the composer and the two choral directors front and center to be recognized. In this photo with Rob Kirby in the center, Bettie Biggs is on the left, and Darlene Shaw is on the right next to Dr. Prior.
After that, it was time for the audience to join the choir in singing carols that were led by the Symphony. Dr. Prior donned a festive red scarf, and with a swish, the carols began. This is a holiday tradition that unifies the audience and the performers as a true community. For the final number, the Choir and Symphony performed a Randol Alan Bass arrangement of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. With joyful applause, the concert ended and the area around the stage was elbow-to-elbow with congratulations and merry wishes for the holidays.
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
Merry Christmas everyone! May your home be filled with music and happiness in 2019!
Here are more images from this concert.