This season, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra fans have been able to celebrate the Carolinas through music under the direction of new music director Stefan Sanders. From East Coast pirates to Fayetteville’s French connection, every concert has embraced a different facet of the Carolinas. Thursday, Jan. 25, the trend continues with “Music of the New World” at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The second chamber concert of the season, this performance includes a mix of brass quintet and woodwind quintet music. A brass quintet is a small ensemble that consists of two trumpets, one French horn, one trombone and one tuba player. A woodwind quintet is another small ensemble that consists of one flute, one oboe, one clarinet, one bassoon and one French horn player. For this performance, all 20 performers are principal musicians, meaning they hold the first or second chair seats in their instrument section in the orchestra.
“The one thing I wish everyone knew about the FSO chamber orchestra concerts is that the programs themselves are created through a conversation between me, our staff and the musicians,” said Sanders. “Once we agree on the repertoire, the musicians coordinate their schedules and rehearse completely on their own. Making music and putting together programs in this manner is what we call chamber music, and it is vital toward building healthy and effective communication between our musicians as well as giving them opportunities to hone their artistry and leadership abilities. … These intimate performances at beautiful St. John’s Episcopal provide music lovers with a closeness to the music and our musicians that only chamber music creates.
“The music will predominantly be American themed – either composed by American born composers, or music that depicts the American nationality,” said FSO Director of Operations and Marketing Julia Atkins. “This music was chosen due to our ‘Gone to Carolina’ season. We typically do small chamber concerts halfway through our season at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and we figured an American themed chamber concert would fit our Carolina season.”
At larger performances, the orchestra’s Music Nerd, Joshua Busman, typically speaks and then hosts a question and answer session prior to the concert. While Busman will not speak at this concert, Atkins said that “because this is a smaller venue with fewer musicians, the musicians themselves (will) speak with the audience during the concert to help give background on the music they will hear that evening.”
She added that this is a great concert for firsttimers or people who want to learn more about the symphony or orchestral music. “Because it is a smaller venue, many concert-goers will get to learn a lot about classical music and hear some music they wouldn’t otherwise hear in a large concert hall,” she said. “It’s certainly a more intimate setting.”
Stellar performances are one piece of the organization’s mission. “Our mission is ‘To Educate. To Entertain. To Inspire,’” said Atkins. “Outreach is essential in order to fulfill that mission – as well as to give back to the Fayetteville community. As a symphony, we do provide entertainment, but we also provide education and inspiration, and we want to be able to provide that to the Fayetteville community every day.”
To this end, the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra involves youth 13-21 years old and has more than 70 participants this year. The FSO also hosts a one-week summer music camp for advanced instrumental students. The orchestra also hosts an After School Strings Program to educate young children about basic music concepts.