The sounds of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will be filling the halls of schools and E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center in the next three months.
During September, the string, woodwind and brass quintets will perform 30-minute programs call Informances at local schools.
Michael Beattie, president and executive director of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, said the programs are a cross between a performance and an educational engagement.
“These in-school visits show children the fun of playing instruments and teach topics of sound production and instrument capabilities, using varied literature,” Beattie said.
There will be 24 hands-on presentations in Western Line and Greenville Public school classrooms.
The first performances were held Sept. 13 and will continue until Oct. 18. The programs include two books, “A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra” and “The Story Orchestra, Four Seasons in One Day,” which include musical vocabulary, musical word games, pictures of instruments and links so the teachers and children could see and hear the different instruments.
“They are engaging and interactive and are also designed to promote interest in learning to play an instrument,” Beattie said. “The full orchestra education concert is designed to engage young people in understanding the science of sound and the ways music is integral to life.”
There will also be two performances of the main orchestra for children on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Jake and Freda Stein Auditorium in the E. E. Bass Building. These performances are not open to the public.
A public performance will be held from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 5 with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at a future date. The program will feature pops and light classical music with a full orchestra.
The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is the predominant performing arts ensemble in the state, fortified by a complement of musicians, a conductor, Board of Directors, and Symphony League volunteers.
The staff manages the operating budget of $1.7 million. MSO is also supported by an endowment held at the Community Foundation for Mississippi. A vital partnership has been forged between the MSO and the state it serves. The orchestra celebrated 75 years in the 2019-20 season.
The orchestra is conducted by Crafton Beck in his 20th season.
In 2019, he concluded 22 years as Music Director and Conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra in Ohio. From 1996-2001, he was Music Director of the Florida Symphonic Pops Orchestra in Boca Raton.
He has also appeared as guest conductor with many American orchestras, including the Memphis Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony and the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Arkansas, Mr. Beck studied clarinet for many years before choosing a career in conducting. He received a Doctorate in Conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1987. Previous studies were at The Ohio State University and the Aspen School.
While affiliated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the 1990’ s, he arranged over 50 selections which appeared on the orchestra’s many recordings, most of which placed on the Billboard Classical/Crossover charts for best-selling albums. His symphonic work Passage, premiered by the MSO in 2014, received the 2015 Award for Musical Composition by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
The symphony program is sponsored by the Greenville Arts Council and made possible by contributions from King’s Daughters and Sons Circle Two, Steve Azar/St. Cecilia Foundation, Delta National Heritage Area, Paul Mathis Foundation and Dr. Maroun Hayek. The program is expected to reach more than 950 children.