Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony celebrates 50th anniversary

SymphonyNATCHITOCHES – The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will travel the world through song and celebrate America as part of its 50th anniversary season. The orchestra under the direction of Dr. Douglas Bakenhus will perform five concerts, be part of the annual Christmas Gala and collaborate with Northwestern Theatre and Dance on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma.”

Season ticket packages for the 2015-16 season start at $50 for two tickets and are available by contacting Linnye Daily at (318) 352-7970 or Gayle Howell at (318) 352-8055. Members can attend the annual Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society Wine & Cheese Reception on Wednesday September 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. the Pratt-Johnson House at 2702 Highway 494 near Natchitoches.

“Usually one looks at a 50th anniversary as an occasion to reflect on what a person or a couple has achieved but which is drawing to a close. With the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society it is an occasion to reflect on the combined dedication, work and efforts of many people over that period of time; all of those people shared the common interest of beautiful music,” said Symphony Society President Marty Sanders. “That common interest has persevered and grown thanks to all of the members that have brought the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society forward from its beginning to this observation of a milestone. That dedication, work and effort will continue for–one hopes–at least another 50 years.”

Sanders said the best way to support the orchestra is by joining the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society. In addition to the sponsor ticket package at $50 are several other sponsorship levels which support the orchestra and help provide scholarships for NSU music students.

“The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society is an integral part of many people’s lives in Natchitoches and other communities,” said Sanders. “I know it did and does for me as a Winnfield native who has the honor of serving as their current president. I encourage anyone reading this to join the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society and feel that same enthusiasm I feel.”

The orchestra will open its season Sunday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall with a concert titled “A New Birth of Freedom.” The concert commemorates the end of the Civil War 150 years ago and includes “American Civil War Fantasy” by Jerry Bilik, “Tara’s Theme” from “Gone With the Wind” and “American Salute” by Morton Gould and music by Randol Bass which is a setting of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The NSU Men’s Chorus directed by Michael Rorex will close the concert with “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, a concert, “World Portraits” will feature slide shows accompanied by the music of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture.” The performance will include the premiere of Louisiana composer Nettie Chenevert’s “Travel Sketches” with images of Rome and Greece. Images of the Elbe River will accompany Telemann’s “Water Music” while the music of Smetena will be performed with images of the Moldau River.

The Christmas Gala will be presented on Dec. 2 – 3 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. The Gala will feature the combined talents of the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

A concert on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall is titled “Music of Courage and Strength.” The performance will include Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” and Haydn’s “Symphony No. 100 in G Major,” (The Military Symphony.)

Winners of the annual NSU Concerto Competition will be featured on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. The program also includes Schumann’s “Symphony No. 1 in Bb Major.”

“Oklahoma” will be performed April 20-24 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.

The season will conclude with a concert, “Baroque Choral Masterworks.” The combined orchestra and NSU Symphony Chorus will perform Bach’s Cantata No. 140, “Wachet aujruft uns die Stimme” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”