The New Texas Sinfonia will take its audience on a journey during its “First Weekend 2023” concert Friday and Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Tyler.
The concert is the second of the 2022-2023 season and includes music for strings and harp including “Adoration” by Florence Price; Sospiri, Edward Elgar; “Aria in Classical Style”, Marcel Granjani; “Andante Festivo” by Jean Sibelius, “Fantasy on a Theme” by Tallis, Ralph Vaughan Williams; and Serenade for Strings by Antonin Dvorak.
“The idea behind everything we do is to take the listener on a journey,” said conductor Weston Jennings. “When I think about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, it’s time to look back and think about the past year. But there’s also this joy and excitement about what’s to come.”
The first music selection in the program is Price’s “Adoration”.
“Florence Price has seen a resurgence lately, which is wonderful. She was the first black female composer whose symphony was performed by a major American orchestra,” he said. “And this work, Worship, is beautiful. We can almost think of the people we may have lost in 2022 and that kind of love for them is captured in this piece.”
Among other pieces performed, British composer Elgar’s “Sospiri” is probably the most deeply reflective piece on the program, according to Jennings. But, he added, the piece that really takes listeners on a journey is Serenade for Strings.
“It kind of takes the listener where they want to go,” he said. “That’s what I feel and what we convey through this music.”
Jennings calls “Aria in Classical Style” by the French composer Grandjani a masterpiece for grand harp.
“The harp and strings sound wonderful… and our harpist will be standing on a raised platform in front of the church,” he said. “I know people enjoy watching this beautiful instrument being played.”
Jennings added: “This concert features music that captures the joy of all that can be in 2023, as well as pieces that help us let go of 2022. Come and enjoy the beauty of the string orchestra and harp to start your 2023.”
In addition to the concert on Saturday, an educational program will also be available.
“It’s called Fiddle Zoo for Kids and it’s free and open to everyone,” Jennings said. “It allows children and their families, people of all ages really, to come and have the opportunity to play instruments, ask questions, perform and just have fun.”
The program runs from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the communion hall and includes music-themed games and activities, orchestra stories, meet and greets with New Texas Sinfonia performers, live performances, concert ticket giveaways, and refreshments.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Jennings said.