Let the music play ...
Temple Symphony Orchestra opens its season with a Oct. 16 Van Cliburn recital. The season also will include a piano trio, a Christmas concert, a Pops performance and a big season finale.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 8, 2021 THE ARTS ISSUE
“It’s been an exceptionally hard year for musicians. It’s hard to lay off for so long, but playing an instrument is kind of like riding a bike: You have to prepare but you don’t forget.”
Tom Fairlie has been conducting the Temple Symphony Orchestra since 1994.
By DAVID STONE, Our Town exclusive
Iron that shirt, polish those shoes and take that wrinkled suit to the cleaners. After nearly two years, it’s finally symphony time in Temple.
“Listening to live music and attending concerts was not an option during the pandemic,” said Jan Salzman, executive director of the Temple Symphony Orchestra. “Many musicians were out of work for the entire year, so we are grateful to be back this season.”
The 2021-22 symphony season starts Oct. 16 with a recital by Daniel Hsu, a medalist in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The recital will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Mayborn Performing Arts Center on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor campus.
According to conductor Thomas Fairlie — maestro of the Temple Symphony since 1994 — Hsu wasn’t the original choice for the season-opening recital. The first selection — Yekwon Sunwoo — didn’t want to perform in Texas because of the pandemic. The offer was then extended to Hsu.
But, Fairlie said, Hsu wasn’t easy to locate. Because of COVID-related concert cancellations, he had decided to pitch a tent in the California mountains.
“He is a big name and a wonderful pianist,” Fairlie said. “He hasn’t been working in a while because of COVID, and he is very excited to get back on stage. It’s been an exceptionally hard year for musicians. It’s hard to lay off for so long, but playing an instrument is kind of like riding a bike: You have to prepare but you don’t forget.”
Last season’s live performances were cancelled, but that didn’t stop the orchestra from performing through social media.
“Temple College was closed at the time, so we didn’t have a venue,” Fairlie recalled. “We got together at UMHB and streamed performances live on Facebook and on the TSO and UMHB websites.”
Up next on this year’s schedule is a Nov. 7 piano trio recital featuring Suzanne Jacobson on the violin, Cory Blaise on the cello and Kiyoshi Tamagawa on the piano. The performance will start at 3 p.m. at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple.
“I don’t step back on the podium until the Monday after Thanksgiving,” Fairlie said. “We will have three rehearsals to get ready for our Holiday Concert. Our musicians are professionals — they will be ready.”
That special show will be on Dec. 4 at Temple High School’s auditorium, the original home of the Temple Symphony Orchestra.
Show time is 7:30 p.m.
The Holiday Concert will feature soprano Priscilla Santana and tenor Brian Joyce, and it will be the first performance of the season for the complete orchestra.
“We will have about 75 musicians for the Holiday Concert,” Fairlie said. “We have a very good orchestra, but our musicians are getting better and better. We held auditions in the spring and had amazing talent try out. Some from Dallas came down, a lot from Austin, and of course a good many are from the Temple and Belton areas.”
Fairlie explained that some of the top orchestras around Central Texas actually share musicians.
“Orchestras in the area arrange schedules so our players can perform with multiple orchestras,” he said. “We have musicians who also perform in Waco, Bryan, Abilene…all over.”
The Temple Symphony Orchestra will perform a Pops Concert on Jan. 29 at the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center at Temple College beginning at 7:30 p.m. That show will feature trumpeter Allen Vizzutti.
“This guy is one of the top three trumpeters in the world,” Fairlie said. “This will be his third time to play with the Temple Symphony Orchestra. To have a guy of his talent here is really exciting. And, he will be doing more in the area than performing the Pops Concert.
According to Fairlie, Vizzutti will be conducting master classes at Temple High School, Temple College and Baylor University.
The orchestra’s season finale will be 3 p.m. May 8 at Temple College and will feature pianists Frances Renzi and Anthony Pattin. They will be performing “Carnival of Animals.” The orchestra also will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Eroica.”
“These last two shows are going to be really special for our orchestra and for those watching the performances,” Fairlie said. “I always get excited when we play Beethoven.”
In addition to its highly anticipated season schedule, members of TSO also participate in educational programs that take music to the people of Central Texas.
According to Salzman, the Temple Symphony String Quartet performs in public schools, adult living centers and veterans centers.
Members of the quartet are Janet Crawford, Amanda Shubert, Jacobson and Blaise. They perform outreach services for public schools, mainly focusing on fourth through eighth grades.
“The Temple Symphony String Quartet has created a program that explores the students’ level of creativity,” Salzman said.
For ticket information for TSO’s 2021-22 season, visit www.TempleSymphony.org.
Here’s the season at a glance:
Oct. 16: Van Cliburn Recital featuring Daniel Hsu. 7:30 p.m., Mayborn Performing Arts Center at UMHB.
Nov. 7: Temple Symphony Piano Trio featuring Suzanne Jacobson, Cory Blaise and Kiyoshi Tamagawa. 3 p.m., CAC.
Dec. 4: TSO Holiday Concert featuring Priscilla Santana and Brian Joyce. 7:30 p.m., Temple High School.
Jan. 29: TSO Pops Concert featuring trumpeter Allen Vizzutti. 7:30 p.m., Temple College.
May 8: TSO Season Finale featuring pianists Frances Renzi and Anthony Pattin. 3 p.m., Temple College.
VAN CLIBURN FINALIST DANIEL HSU TO OPEN TSO SEASON
“I think music inherently is an extremely personal thing. It’s an art form, just like every other kind of art, it’s extremely personal and individual. ... I personally believe that as a musician or as a performer, it’s our responsibility to interpret and bring to life the original composer’s intentions. In the case of classical music, there’s a lot of stuff written into the music. There’s history and what was going on in the composer’s life and what each piece might be about. At the same time, I also feel like the performer’s personal experiences influence the music. Ultimately, music is about communicating something — a story and emotions that you aren’t able to say in other ways. And every performance is an opportunity to express that story. That’s the charge of playing piano for me.” — Daniel Hsu
Yuletide Tour of Homes tickets now on sale
Tickets for this year’s Yuletide Tour of Homes go on sale Monday. The tour benefits the Temple Children’s Museum.
This year’s tour will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-21, and will include five Temple-area homes.
Homes on this year’s tour include the Atkinson house, the Macey house, the Lange 1920’s apartment, the Thompson downtown apartment and the Allen house.
Addresses will be provided after tickets are purchased.
Tickets are $30 per person and may be bought online at templechildrensmuseum.org.
Leading Ladies, written by Ken Ludwig and directed locally by Emily Taylor, opens at Temple Civic Theatre on Oct. 22.
TCT comedy takes a deceitful twist
By DAVID STONE, Our Town exclusive
Get ready for a screwball comedy filled with bad behavior, high heels and two Shakespearean actors who will do anything for a buck.
Leading Ladies, written by Ken Ludwig and directed locally by Emily Taylor, opens at Temple Civic Theater on Oct, 22 and runs through Oct. 31.
“In this hilarious comedy, two English actors — Leo and Jack — find themselves down on their luck so they’re performing ‘Scenes from Shakespeare’ on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania,” said TCT spokesperson Regina Corley.
The actors learn that an old lady in New York is about to die and leave her fortune to two long-lost English nephews. So, the pair devise a scheme to pose as the nephews to collect the cash. There’s a catch, though.
“When they get to New York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews at all,” Corley said. “They’re nieces.”
So, Leo and Jack become Maxine and Stephanie.
Romantic entanglements abound when Leo falls in love with the old lady’s niece, Meg, who happens to be engaged to the local minister.
Leading Ladies stars Jake Maspero as Leo/Max, Tyler Christensen as Jack/Steve, Debora Garcia-Valentin as Meg, DeLisa McClennon as Aubrey, Jonathan Spear as Duncan, Dashon King as Butch, Darren Walker as Doc and Nelda Jones as Florence.
Tickets are available at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?actions=4&p=1.