The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Association will present a free, live children’s orchestral concert for Second-Fifth Grade students of the New Albany Public School District at the New Albany High School Auditorium on Friday April 12. The students will perform with the North Mississippi Symphony at a 10:45 a.m. performance. This concert is sponsored by the New Albany Symphony League and is made possible by private donations from the New Albany community.  Donors are invited to attend.   

The concert is a culmination of the students’ study of orchestral music provided through a partnership of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the New Albany Symphony League. Celia House, elementary music teacher, incorporates the Carnegie Link Up program in the music curriculum.   

The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Association, the only professional orchestra in North Mississippi, and its support organization, the North Mississippi Symphony League, embrace a commitment to the children of New Albany, Tupelo, Lee County, and the region to provide positive educational experiences and further enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the North Mississippi Region. The purpose of the children’s concert is to provide an opportunity for local elementary age students to attend and experience a live orchestral performance at least once during their elementary school years; 2) develop appropriate student behavior at a cultural event; 3) cultivate an appreciation of a symphony orchestra; 4) generate excitement and positive attitudes about orchestral music; 5) introduce the students to the four families of the orchestra and how sound is produced on each instrument; and 6) foster student appreciation and learning of various musical styles, forms, compositional techniques and listening strategies.

Steven Byess, conductor, has been selected to serve as Guest Conductor for the Children’s Concert. He is nationally recognized for his commitment and enthusiasm for music education and his outstanding work with children. Byess wrote, co-directed and is featured in a PBS presentation entitled Count on It!, which is designed for children of grades K-3 and shows the correlation of music to mathematics. In January 2000, Byess was chosen by Walt Disney World Entertainment to conduct the NFL E*TRADE Super Bowl Halftime Show. The production was composed of over 400 performers, the Walt Disney Millennium Orchestra, and included international artist Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Tony Braxton, and Edward James Olmos. He has been our guest conductor for the past several years for the children’s concert and has a special gift for working with young children.

Pre-planning with the young, vibrant guest conductor, Steven Byess, will result in a kid-friendly children’s concert incorporating the elements of humor, dramatics, and the conductor’s conversational style to enhance enjoyment and foster understanding of musical concepts. The program will be approximately 40 minutes in length and is entitled The Orchestra Moves.  Combined with the virtuoso talent of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, organizers say the concert should be a noteworthy experience for the children. 

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