Symphony plays for area youth

The Sam Houston State University Symphony will perform this morning at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands.

The open admissions concert was made possible by an invitation from The Center for the Performing Arts in an effort to educate and entertain fourth graders from several area school districts.

SHSU Symphony Director and Conductor Carol Smith said the greatest joy of playing for the children is showing them a world they might not otherwise get to experience.

“That students become performers is not the whole picture so as long as they become life long appreciators of music,” Smith said.

Smith said introducing students to high art and showing them that it is a good thing can change their lives in a very rewarding way.

“We get to take some great music into the schools and minds of fourth graders, and say that this is something that is positive,” she said.

Smith said the lifeblood of a successful symphony depends on its audience. The reciprocating effect of early exposure to symphony performances is a stabilized future for symphonies nationwide.

“A great symphony is supported by people who like the music and see it as a worthy cause,” Smith said.

Besides culturing children, the orchestra will also enjoy the privilege of playing at The Woodlands Pavilion. SHSU junior Phillip Milbrant, a bass player in the SHSU Symphony, said the sound quality the pavilion generates is exceptional.

“The atmosphere, and seeing the kids so excited is fun. But, it is also an acoustically great place to play in,” Milbrant said. “A lot of places do not allow the sound to resonate. That causes you to have to force the sound out, and that is hard to do sometimes.”

Smith said the construction of the pavilion is world class.

“It is very finely constructed to provide a very acoustical sound,” Smith said. “For an outside theatre, it is built on the same premise that the Tangle Wood Music Festival plays in. It is also the summer home of the Boston Symphony.”

Junior violinist Erin Daniel said seeing the children’s joy is her satisfaction.

“I like to influence the little kids. It is good for them to get cultured in this way, and possibly get involved in the future,” Daniel said.

After arriving at the pavilion, the symphony will begin warming up immediately. Milbradt said preparing for a concert is no easy task.

“A good warm up takes about 45 minutes,” he said. “It takes that long to really get into the music.”

Violinist Amy Mabel said the hardest part of doing a concert is getting everything organized and in sync.

“Getting everything prepared is difficult; we have so many different pieces,” Mabel said.

Among the symphony’s repertoire to be performed are Tchaikovsky’s “March Slave,” Joseph Cantaloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne,” Scott Plugge’s “Carnival of Venice,” Michael O’ Leary’s “12th Street Rag,” and Ottonino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.”

The music department’s next concert will include the SHSU Strings and Chamber Orchestra. The concert will take place April 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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