Symphony to present annual Family Concert Friday


The Starkville/MSU Symphony Orchestra presents a

The Starkville/MSU Symphony Orchestra presents a "Programs for Children" performance in 2017. Photo by: Courtesy photo


Special to The Dispatch



The Starkville/MSU Symphony presents the annual Family Concert on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Lee Hall Auditorium on the Mississippi State campus. The concert marks the third installment of this year's landmark 50th season. Admission is free and open to the public. 


Performed by the Symphony Orchestra, the Family Concert will culminate the Symphony Association's month-long "Programs for Children," a multidisciplinary music education program designed to introduce area school children to symphonic music. The evening concert features a selection of music from American composers, including John Williams' "Summon the Heroes," "American Patriotic Songs" by Symphony Conductor Barry Kopetz and "Variations on a Shaker Melody" by Aaron Copland. 


As a community-centered prelude to the Family Concert presentation of American music, the Programs for Children theme for 2018 is "American Heroes and Patriotism." It offers elementary students the opportunity to learn and interpret several featured patriotic songs including "America the Beautiful," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "This Land is Your Land," as well as "Summon the Heroes." 


"Our Programs for Children initiative began in 1975, and this year, we are excited to showcase the program to over 3,000 area elementary students during our daytime concerts," said Joe Ray Underwood, Starkville/MSU Symphony Association (SMSA) board member and director of the program. "Our 2018 patriotic focus combines art and music to introduce children to American music's classical genre." 


The Programs for Children initiative includes an annual art competition where small groups of students, or entire classrooms have created "mural" designs interpreting the featured patriotic songs. It also includes classroom presentations and curriculum aids that teachers have used to introduce the music. 


Starkville Oktibbeha School District, Starkville Academy, Starkville Home School Music Co-op, Starkville Christian School, West Clay Elementary and Annunciation Catholic School are participating in this year's program. Students from each school will attend one of the three daytime school concerts Friday, prior to the evening public concert.  


A display of student artwork from the competition as well as other patriotic imagery will be presented at each school concert. In addition, Samuel Jackson, music instructor at Overstreet Elementary, will lead a group of his students in a vocal presentation, accompanied by the Symphony. 


"Whether it's through classroom lessons, art projects or learning choral versions of the songs, the Symphony's goal is to introduce these treasured American favorites to our children in a new way," said Underwood. 




Community effort 


Programs for Children is supported in part through a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Each year, it also relies on support from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, local school districts and MSU. 


"The Programs for Children initiative is truly a community effort," said Eric Hill, SMSA board president. "MSU transportation and event services, the Day One program, area school administrators, art and music teachers and Symphony musicians all work together to make it happen. And, of course, the program would not be possible without Joe Ray's tireless efforts over the years." 


During Friday's evening concert, attendees will hear guest vocalist Haylee Glenn, who will perform a selection from Giacomo Puccini's final opera, "Turandot." Glenn is winner of the 2018 MSU Department of Music Concerto Competition. 


The Starkville/MSU Symphony Association was established March 2, 1969. Under its leadership, the Symphony's program of work has grown to support the community orchestra, chorus and Programs for Children. With the goal of introducing the vibrant classical music genre to an audience reflecting the entire Starkville and surrounding community, every concert has remained free to the public throughout the Symphony's 50-year history. 


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WHO: Starkville/MSU Symphony Association 


WHAT: Family Concert 


WHEN: Friday, Nov. 9; 7:30 p.m. 


WHERE: Lee Hall Bettersworth Auditorium, MSU campus 





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