When many think of attending a symphony orchestra, larger orchestras in more affluent cities might come to mind – Boston, New York, Los Angeles among them.
However, it’s the smaller towns that breed a commitment-like attitude, relying on volunteers, small businesses and individuals to keep a symphony alive. While this attitude and giving spirit is important for all orchestras in every community, people in the smaller towns come together, like a family, in the spirit of music.
Consider The Coastal Symphony of Georgia, based in Brunswick. The orchestra is comprised of professional musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony, including JSO Cellist Vernon Humbert, the Coastal Symphony’s conductor and music director, and JSO Violinist Max Huls, Coastal Symphony’s concertmaster; area professionals; music teachers and others.
The Coastal Symphony opened their 28th season last night at the 650-seat Glynn Academy Memorial Auditorium. Nearly all the seats were full when the community turned out to support their local symphony, which presented a unique program to tie in with their season’s theme: “Ellis Island – Variations on a Theme.”
The concert focused on the United Kingdom, a fitting choice for a town founded and settled by the British, and featured works by Benjamin Britten: Canadian Carnival; George Frideric Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks; Percy Grainger: Molly on the Shore and Shepherd’s Hey; and Sir Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, with Vernon Humbert as soloist and Dr. Simon Shiao as guest conductor.
Humbert engaged the audience at one point when introducing Britten’s “Carnival,” providing a brief synopsis and warning patrons of the storm Britten creates with his music. He wasn’t kidding. Between the solo second trumpets, and odd clash of the composer’s 4/4, 3/4 timing, the title is appropriate for this kind of work.
What’s more important to this concert than even the music itself, is the community support. Orchestra’s are essential to the core of a community because it improves the quality of life; promotes understanding of other cultures; fosters pride in the community; and contributes to the education and development of children.*
Any town that has a symphony orchestra should take advantage of the gift they’ve been given.
How important is a community orchestra to you?
*Source: League of American Orchestras
Upcoming Coastal Symphony of Georgia Performances:
December 6, 2010
Christmas Around the World
May 2, 2011
The Beat Goes On – Latin America