Tulare County Symphony Features Americana Music

The Tulare County Symphony is excitedly getting ready to open its classical season on Saturday, October 15, performing music by American contemporary composers on the Visalia Fox Theatre stage surrounded by a brand new wrap-around orchestra shell designed to enhance the sound.

The shell’s mahogany finish not only provides a highly professional look, but it wraps the entire stage, including ceiling “clouds” with overhead lighting, so the musicians will be able to hear each other and see their music much better. The sound will also be enhanced for the audience.

The concert begins with the brass and percussion playing the dynamic “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland. The four-minute piece was written in response to America’s entry into WWII and is often heard on TV, for sports shows and in Navy recruitment ads.

Edgar Meyer’s “Violin Concerto” is a very lyrical piece with solo violin often floating high above a lower accompaniment. There are two passages where guest soloist Alexi Kenny has to play a slow melody on one string while playing a faster theme on another string.

Meyer, born in 1960, is a virtuoso double bassist who plays on concert stages (with such musicians as Yo-Yo Ma) as well as in country music venues and studios in Nashville. His music includes the strong folksy influence of his native Tennesee and deceptively simple melodies that require great skill on the violin.

Kenny, who grew up in Palo Alto, trained at the New England Conservatory in Boston and played his debut recital at Carnegie Hall at age 19 (just three years ago).

The symphony returns to Copland to end the concert with his “Billy the Kid Suite.” Created as a ballet, the suite is most famous for incorporating several cowboy tunes (such as “Git Along, Little Dogies” and “The Old Chisholm Trail”) and American folk songs into the story of the famous Old West cowboy.

Tickets are $30 to $39.50 at the symphony office, 208 W. Main St. Suite D, Visalia, Student prices are $10. Tickets are also available at 732-8600 or at www.tularecountysymphony.com. Go online to check out the special season offering: three tickets for $99.

The concert begins at 7:30pm, but the audience is invited to attend the pre-concert preview by director Bruce Kiesling at 6:45.

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