Music for Every Season
Bernstein, Beethoven, Brahms and iconic tunes from popular movies — they all represent different eras of music and they are all being performed locally this year.
Celebrating its 65th season, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra will perform in 11 local concerts during its 2018-2019 schedule at a variety of venues, including its home concert hall, the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.
“This season reflects celebration and has a lot of variety. It really shows off our repertoire,” Christopher Confessore, music director and principal conductor of the BSO, said.
Depending on the music of a particular concert, the amount of musicians on stage varies from 50 to 90. The musicians are paid professionals.
Confessore has been with BSO for 23 years and says that each season has its own excitement. This year will be no exception.
“The power of Beethoven, the passion of Tchaikovsky — this season truly has it all,” he said.
The pinnacle piece for the 2018-2019 season will commemorate another anniversary. At the April 6 concert, BSO will perform music written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. BSO is only one of three orchestras nationwide that was chosen to perform From the Earth to the Moon to Beyond.
“Our concert will be especially poignant because we have asked astronaut Winston Scott to narrate it for us,” Confessore said. Scott, a trumpet player himself, credits his musical background with getting him into college and starting him on a path to becoming an aerospace career.
“He is the perfect narrator for this piece because he understands both the demands of space travel and the vitality of music,” Confessore said.
In addition to playing its own concerts, BSO partners with other arts organizations locally, including the 125-member Brevard Community Chorus. Free concerts that are open to the public take place during the Cultural Arts Showcase in September and during the Fourth of July concert.
“We really try to get out to the community so they can hear this type of music and perhaps in settings they would not expect,” Confessore said.
Of all the outreach the BSO conducts, its youth program is what Confessore says makes him most proud. The 100-member Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra is in its 35th season. It brings together middle and high school students in professional rehearsal and concert settings.
Each school year, the BSO invites fifth graders from around the county to attend a concert at the King Center designed to introduce them to the orchestral music. The concert tailors its musical selections to those that are recognizable — and ones that may not be familiar but pique the interest of the young listeners.
“That concert is really important to us, and to me personally. It is vital that it be a positive experience, especially since it is the first time many of the kids have seen a professional orchestra play,” Confessore said.
More than just music
Jennifer Guzman has been a violinist with BSO since 1997 and took over the role of music librarian for the organization three years ago. She pulls all of the music for the upcoming concerts from the BSO’s vast music library, or buys or rents it. Once Confessore has made his notations in the music for each part, Guzman writes those directions into the first-chair copies of the music. From there, the instrument leaders mark up the rest of their section’s musical scores.
“We cannot just pass out the music and play it as written on the page. We must copy the directions for the piece of music, including bowing,” Guzman said. Bowing instructions dictate which direction the bow starts — either up or down — in a certain section of music.
“If we are not all bowing the same way, it could be chaos on stage,” Guzman said. The amount of time it takes to mark the music varies by concert, but Guzman says the music for the October concert took her about 12 hours to properly mark just for bowing.
“It is all very meticulous work so that by the time we reach rehearsals, we are all on the same page,” Guzman said.
There are other aspects to being the music librarian that concertgoers may not necessarily notice. This past Fourth of July concert was ended abruptly when a torrential rainstorm blew in. While listeners were running for cover, Guzman, Confessore and concertmaster Lisa Ferrigno were scrambling to get music under cover so it would not get ruined.
Guzman does not know the date of the oldest piece of music in the library, but says there are some scores that were printed more than 100 years ago.
“All music is valuable but there are some titles that are irreplaceable because they are out of print,” Guzman said. “Protecting our music is important for future orchestra members.”
The music is just one part of the legacy the current BSO members want to leave for Brevard and the surrounding areas. Bringing new life to classical music and presenting contemporary music in a new light are a few of the goals of the orchestra.
“We really want to be our community’s orchestra, and our season selections reflect that, I hope,” Confessore said.
Learn more about this season’s lineup by visiting www.brevardsymphony.com.
BSO by the numbers:
50 to 90: BSO musicians performing during a concert
65: Seasons the BSO has performed
100: Students in the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra
11: Concerts the BSO will perform this season