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Symphony orchestra concert set for Saturday in Longview

By BY CHARLOTTE STEWART cstewart@news-journal.com
April 28, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Wayne Smith was a young man in about the eighth or ninth grade in 1968 when he found his lifelong love.

"I happened to be in attendance at the very first Longview Symphony Orchestra concert" which was organized by James Snowden. "They played Schubert's 'Eighth Symphony,' " Smith recalled. "I was hooked."

That symphonic spark was (pardon the pun) instrumental in the development that led him to an educational career in music spanning 30 years - 10 at Kilgore College and 20 at White Oak ISD. He has played the French horn in Longview's orchestra and also in the Tyler-based East Texas Symphony Orchestra, he said.

"But it was the Longview Symphony Orchestra that first wetted my appetite," he said. More than 40 years later, Smith says he has come "full circle" now that he is on the orchestra's board of directors, where he is the vice president of production.

"This - concert week - is my duty time, making sure the stage is set, the musicians know where the motels are, that sort of thing. I'm the detail guy," he said.

And he could not ask for a better venue than the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center on the campus of LeTourneau University, he said.

"There is no place in Texas prettier," he declared. "There are places equally beautiful, but no place more beautiful. We've really got something to be proud of here," he said, adding that the acoustics at the center are first class. "For a place of about 80,000 people to have something like that, it's just amazing."

Smith is excited about the line up for "Symphonic Fireworks," noting that "Symphony No. 5 in D minor" by Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich is "big, brassy and bombastic and a great piece of music."

"This piece requires a good 75 piece orchestra. It's a large piece. Large is a good way to end the season."

The orchestra's marketing director, Lynette Goodson, said this piece is the people's choice. "We ask people what they want to hear, and this is what they told us."

The orchestra is also set to play "Finlandia," one of the best-known compositions by Jean Sibelius, and "Mother Goose Suite" by Maurice Ravel.

Some members of the Longview Area Youth Symphony Orchestra will join the Longview Symphony Orchestra in a side-by-side performance.

"These are the older kids, the more experienced ones," Smith said.

Goodson said the orchestra still offers $10 tickets because "we want for everyone in the community to be able to afford this kind of experience. It's that important."

The Longview Area Youth Symphony Orchestras, or LAYSO, will have its own performance at the Belcher Center on Monday. The Spring Concert includes selections by Schubert, Elgar, Strauss, Gliere, Nunez, Humperdinck, Marcini, and Tchaikovsky, conductor Mark Crim said.

Admission to the 7 p.m. concert is $5 at the door.

Working with the orchestra fosters a sense of team work and cultivates a sense of beauty in students, he said.

"This is the future of Longview Symphony," Crim said of LAYSO.

More information about the concert is available at <a href= "http://www.longviewsymphony.org">www.longviewsymphony.org</a>.

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