A May 19 concert featuring a guest artist will conclude the year for the orchestra program offered through the Academy of the Arts at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
The concert will feature the Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra -- which is made up of students in grades 9-12 and college age students through age 25 -- and the Academy Orchestra, a group of 5th through 8th grade students playing string instruments.
The event is planned for 7 p.m. in Breedlove Auditorium at UAFS. Admission is by On Stage series tickets or $6, with tickets available in advance from the UAFS Box Office.
The guest performer, according to orchestra director Dan Mays of Fort Smith, is Elizabeth Lyon, concertmaster of the Fort Smith Symphony and resident of Bella Vista.
Mays said it has been a “very good year” for the audition-only orchestra.
“These talented youth rise to every challenge I give them,” he said. “Having college students participate helps motivate and support the younger players. Together, it is remarkable what they are able to accomplish.”
The Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra will perform “Danse Macabre” with violin solo by guest violinist Elizabeth Lyon, in addition to “Overture to ‘Egmont’” and “Finlandia.”
On the evening’s program for the Academy Orchestra are “O Mio Babbino Caro,” “Blue Fire Fiddler” and “Song of the Sea Mariner.”
Mays, who has directed the Academy’s orchestra program since 2011, said he is impressed with the dedication of the performers.
“The players not only give 100 percent in rehearsal, they practice the music at home and listen to recordings of great orchestras performing the same repertoire we play right here in Fort Smith,” said Mays. “They really love that they get to play ‘real music,’ the same music professional symphonies perform.”
Dr. Rosilee Russell of Fort Smith, executive director of the Academy of the Arts, said the orchestra program is one-of-a-kind for this region.
“We’ve been so pleased to see how well received the orchestra is,” said Russell. “Being a part of this orchestra program allows serious music students an opportunity to prepare for college orchestral work and beyond.”
Russell also said the fact that the Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra includes college students is a plus for the younger performers.
“Not only are those less than college age learning from a great director,” said Russell, “they are having an opportunity to see how far they can advance by being a part of the program.”
Alma: Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra -- Rebecca Parham, bassoon.
Fort Smith: Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra -- Emily Bieker, Jade Espina and Matthew Farrar, violin; Kyle Carson, Abby Cutsinger and Taylor Hartwig, cello; Ryan Cutsinger, Chloe McDaniel and Kimberly Cordon, viola; Benjamin Keating, trumpet; Kirk Linam and Derrick J. Rassinier, French horn; Vanessa Riddle, clarinet; and Nathan Boyd, bass; Tim Clifton, Christian Jones and Kameron Morton, horn; and Christopher Jones, percussion. Academy Orchestra -- Poorva Dalvi, Persephone Himes, Lena Pham, Dani Mays and Dana Mays, violin; Jayden Gray, viola; and Kenny Pham and Aidan Mays, cello.
Van Buren: Youth Honor Symphony Orchestra -- Hannah Martin, cello; and Patrick Martin and Melissa Phillips, violin.
The Academy of the Arts has a curriculum geared to children and teens ages 1 through 18 and currently offers a preschool program, instrumental ensembles, choral and theatre programs, private music lessons and an art program. Summer programs and camps are also on the Academy’s schedule.
For more information, contact Brooke Bates at 479-788-7253.