News

Richard Carter for the Times Record News – June 21, 2020

One of the more striking and heartening images that came from Italy during its battle with Covid-19 were the films of neighbors on their balconies playing musical instruments to connect with one another.

Inspired by those scenes, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra created a weekly playlist on its website www.wfso.org titled “Legato in times of Staccato,” according to ED Alicia Deges. The musical selections are curated by WFSO music director and conductor Fouad Fakhouri.

“We were thinking of things we could do to connect with people,” said Deges, “since we can’t be together in the concert hall. Legato is a musical term that is used to connect a group of notes together. Staccato is used to give notes space and detachment from each other. Music is such a great way to keep people connected.”

Each week, the WFSO lists a music playlist developed and annotated by Fakhouri, who is currently living in Michigan and NYC. In addition to the music that he selects, the lists also incorporate community submissions from those who email the symphony at info@wfso.org. The most recent May 10 list features performances of pieces by Strauss, Sibelius, Cage, Kancheli and even Rush’s “Force Ten” for classic rockers.

There’s nothing to download to enjoy the curated program, said Fakhouri. Simply go to the WFSO website, click the “Legato in times of Staccato” button, choose a list, and click on the piece to listen to the work on Youtube.com or Spotify.  “It’s been fun; it’s been interesting,” said Fakhouri. “It’s opened me to reconsider pieces that I haven’t heard or spoken about in a while. Pieces that I may not be able to perform for a number of factors – because they are too long or require a choir (the latter has been shown to spread Covid-19). It’s been an interesting way to continue to interact with our audience.”

To continue reading the article click the link here: https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/entertainment/2020/06/21/legato-times-staccato-wichita-falls-symphony-orchestra/3207950001/ 

 

 
 

Cellist Julian Schwarz will perform Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no. 1 with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra  at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available at www.WFSO.org.

Saturday, February 29th, 2020 at 7:30 PM, the WFSO presented their concert titled “Russian Masterpieces,” featuring Seattle native Julian Schwarz performing Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 107 (1956).  The performance was extremely successful, and the WFSO is honored to have featured such a phenomenal musician. 

Growing up in Seattle, Julian Schwarz grew up in a family where classical music was the family business.

His mother’s family was rich in musicians with relatives playing in symphonies across the country, as was as his father Gerard who served as conductor of the Seattle Symphony.         

Schwarz and his siblings began playing piano at 4, “to get a basis in counterpoint and harmony and clef reading,” he said. “After a year or so, we could switch to another instrument.

“I wanted to play double bass but my brother had taken it, so I started playing cello at age 6. I wasn’t that serious then. By the time I was 10, I was on my way.”

The cellist has his bachelor’s and master’s from Julliard and teaches at Shenandoah University in Virginia. He also performs with his fiancée pianist Marika Bournaki In New York City as well as the Frisson Ensemble (a mixed nonet of winds and strings), and the Mile-End Trio with a violinist and Bournaki. 

For more information on Julian Schwarz, please visit the article below!

https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/2020/02/28/julian-schwarz-wichita-falls-symphony-orchestra/4860069002/

 

 
 

We are excited to announce the Grand Opening of our new Wichita Falls Symphony Store!

 

 

Available exclusively online, our Store will feature merchandise for all types of music lovers, including classical, opera, jazz—and even guitar enthusiasts. Each department has been curated with different price points and artisan-focused finds.

Some of our favorite Symphony Store finds include:

Piano Wire Necklace

Guitar String Bracelet

Violin Bottle Opener

Concerto Violin Mug

Bach Lapel Pin 

 

“The new Store has been designed to appeal to all types of music lovers,” said Alicia Deges, Executive Director. “We hope that our audiences will discover unique finds not only for themselves but as thoughtful gifts for family and friends,” she continued.

Store items may be shipped anywhere throughout North America; we will offer free shipping on orders totaling $50 or more.

Let the shopping begin! Click here to explore your new Wichita Falls Symphony Store.

 

 
 

For any arts organization to survive for 73 years, much less thrive that long, is quite an accomplishment. That’s exactly what the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra has done this year as it inches closer to achieving the impressive landmark of serving our community for three-quarters of a century. Alicia Deges, the new Executive Director, says “it’s exciting to see how the WFSO is reaching beyond our incredible performances to now also focus on quality educational and community outreach events that touch people from all walks of life.”

The 2019-2020 season, dubbed “Inside Symphonic Music,” opened on September 21st with internationally recognized pianist Joyce Yang performing Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.” According to Maestro Fakhouri, “Working with Joyce Yang was an extremely rewarding experience for all involved. She is a very gifted pianist who is also a wonderful collaborator.”

The second concert of the season continues with the music of Beethoven, whose 250th birthday will be celebrated worldwide in December. Texomans will also have the opportunity to hear a lesser-played symphony by Mozart, as well as the overture to “The Barber of Seville,” a comic opera by Gioachino Rossini about the amorous young Count Almaviva’s attempts to win the hand of the beautiful Rosina.

The second work on the program Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25 in G minor,” written in 1773. “To think that this dramatic symphony was penned by a 17-year old is almost mind-boggling,” says Fakhouri. “Mozart is certainly one of history’s best operatic composers and his symphonies, in my opinion, are just as dramatic and powerful as his operas. It is not a coincidence that Czech director Miloš Forman used the first movement of this symphony as the opening music to his movie ‘Amadeus.’”

The featured work in this concert is Beethoven’s “7th Symphony,” which marks a radical break with the stylistic conventions of the Classical period, while at the same time pointing to the Romantic movement to come. Fakhouri chose the three composers on this program because there are some interesting ties between them. Early in his career, Beethoven worked hard to break free from the overpowering shadow of Mozart, and in turn, at the end of his career, his music, which had gotten very heavy and complex, was challenged by the much lighter, more melodic music of Rossini.

The “7th Symphony” premiered three years before Rossini’s opera in 1813 at a charity concert for wounded soldiers in Vienna. As Fakhouri explains it, “the rhythmic vitality and innovation in Beethoven’s 7th is revolutionary because it uses incessant rhythmic figures as the glue that propels the entire piece. No wonder Wagner described this symphony as the ‘The Apotheosis of Dance.’”

December marks the second major film-and-music concert performed by the WFSO with “Home Alone in Concert” on the 14th. According to Deges, “Attending this concert is definitely a must for your holiday season. The full movie will be presented on the big screen while our wonderful orchestra performs the score live for the audience.” Anyone who attended “Pixar in Concert” two seasons ago will surely recall with pleasure the excitement of that live multi-media event.

Along with the WFSO’s new “Symphony Kids Night Out” at the Bill Bartley Family YMCA the night of the show, they are also hosting “Beethoven at the Brewery” on November 14th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Wichita Falls Brewing Company. “Beethoven at the Brewery” is a chance for anyone interested in hearing live music performed by a handful of WFSO musicians, as well as an opportunity to share a brew with the conductor, staff, and symphony volunteers in an intimate setting. For more info on these events and the concert itself, contact 723-6202 or wfso.org.

Written by Todd Giles.

 
 
 

Deanna Watson, Wichita Falls Times Record NewsPublished 6:34 a.m. CT Oct. 20, 2019 | Updated 6:34 a.m. CT Oct. 20, 2019

 

 
 
 
Music has held a precious place in the life of Jackson Sons since his birth some 17 years ago.

Born Feb. 1, 2002, with Down Syndrome and a number of health issues, the Rider High School student and member of the Rider Raiders band found music more than just entertaining. Music taught him how to spell his name.

“Jackson has ALWAYS loved music,” said his mother, Richelle Sons. “He loved to dance (even when strapped in his high chair) and clap his hands to music throughout the day.”

Music gave the stay-at-home mom a way to entertain her youngest child.

“When he was very young — maybe 6 — we discovered music therapy. It was amazing the things he was able to learn through music with his therapist, Jodie White,” said Richelle, who added that music also tamed some behavioral issues.

“Jackson learned how to spell his name, his address, phone number, and other things using songs — think Bingo, B.I.N.G.O, but instead he would spell Jackson,” she said.

His desire to take band as a class at Rider came as no surprise for the Sons family, which includes father, Rusty, and two older sisters.

Taylor, 23, graduated from the University of Texas in May and attends grad school at the University of North Texas, studying speech and language pathology. Maddie, 21, will graduate in May from UNT with a psychology degree. 

By enrolling in the band class, Jackson, by definition, became part of the Rider Raider band. Just what contribution Jackson would bring to the band took some thought and planning.

“His parents requested band as a class like all other students,” said Loy Studer, band director in his 14th year at Rider. 

“We weren’t sure what the path was at the beginning or how to best use Jackson’s talents so that band would be a benefit to him,” Studer said. “Just like every kid we teach, we had to get to know him as a person to see what his skill set was.”

Rider received a 1 score – Superior – from the UIL judges and will advance to the Area competition in Odessa next Saturday. 

“At the beginning, we just felt like percussion was the place that he could have the best chance to participate,” said Studer, whose younger daughter Lilly is a senior band member.

“Jackson has played a lot of different instruments in band from triangle to bass drum to other accessories,” Studer said. “He will try anything.”

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Jackson wouldn’t, though, have anything to do with performing in the stands or, at first, on the field.

His fear of heights still keeps him from joining the band in the stands during the game, his mom said, and he appears on the field during halftime after much encouragement and practice.

“He has a vestibular disorder that makes it hard for him to navigate anything that is not flat ground,” Richelle said.

“He is scared of heights, so being in the stands with the band is not an option for him,” she said. “Even sitting in our cart at the top of the ramp during the games was hard for him because he could see the field below, and I think it felt to him like he would fall if he got too close to the edge.”

His first halftime performance took much planning for Jackson to trust the process.

“When we practiced going down the ramp his freshman year, Mr. (Geoff) Martin was there, and Jackson had him sit next to him, while (dad) Rusty drove them up and down the ramp,” Richelle said. “Mr Martin is a saint!”

Jackson joins another band student with special challenges, Studer said. 

“We have a completely deaf student in guard who will compete at UIL this year,” Studer said. “I still don’t know how he stays in tempo when he can’t hear anything.”

Studer added that the UIL judges would have no idea a student on the field is deaf. All the students are judged by the respective rubric. 

Band competitions can be fierce with rivalries seemingly as intense as those in football pads, but that didn’t play a role in any decision Studer made with Jackson.

“As far as kids that are differently abled, I didn’t go to college to get a degree to be able to win trophies,” Studer said. “Those are great. They are a sign that you are doing the correct things every day.  However, what is most important is teaching kids. All kids.”

A highlight for the Sons family was when Jackson was recognized on senior night last month. 

“Every time I think, ‘That was the best!,’ it gets topped at the next pep rally, football game, electronica performance or show. Jackson is ALWAYS so proud of himself after each performance, no matter what it is,” said his mom, who added that she can see other percussion band members mouth “good job” to her son during performances.

“I will say, walking across the field with him on senior night and hearing the band erupt in cheers for him as his name was announced was pretty special,” she said. “He threw his fists in the air, and cheered for himself as well when he heard them. It was priceless.”

Deanna Watson is the editor of the Times Record News. Watson, in her third decade of journalism, can be reached at deanna.watson@timesrecordnews.com. 

 
 
 

by Richard Carter

Special to Wichita Falls Times Record News USA TODAY NETWORK – TEXAS

Joyce Yang discovered piano at age 4, but wasn’t truly moved by music until she was 14 and heard Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

“It really brought me to tears,” Yang said. “At that age, I didn’t know music had that kind of power over peoples’ emotions. I was overcome by the beauty of it. Until then, it was just about me playing the piano and enjoying to play piano, not about the music.”

It began her commitment to becoming a musician and spreading the powerful force and joy through music. “Until you fall in love with music, you do it to show off for your own good and to be like, ‘Look, what I can do,’ but then you suddenly realize you can serve a higher purpose with it.”

Yang will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra at Memorial Auditorium as the WFSO opens its season. She performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor three years ago with the WFSO.

Currently living in Alabama, by way of New York City, Yang began playing at 4 and was her aunt’s first student in Seoul, South Korea. “She has a natural flair for teaching young children.

Her aunt is still teaching in Seoul, but is now working with teachers to help implement her method in schools. “I am sort of bigger than life when I visit her school,” she said with a laugh.

Yang learned the Beethoven Piano Concerto when she was 16 or 17. “It’s in this dark C minor, and all the great dramatic C minors, it’s the drama that grabs you in the beginning.”

When she was learning the concerto she thought it was fiery and dark and playful, all at the same time. “The melodies were so gripping: I couldn’t get enough of it.”

The piece transformed in her mind at age 18 when she heard pianist Yefim Bronfman perform it at the Aspen Summer Musical Festival. “There was intimacy and such breadth of poetry in it that he brought out that I couldn’t believe my ears. It was not the same piece.”

See YANG, Page 2B

Joyce Yang will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra at Memorial Auditorium as the WFSO opens its season. COURTESY

Continued from Page 1B

She remembers walking home in the rain, having forgotten her umbrella, “and thinking how my life was basically changed by that performance. I will really spend my life trying to find all the treasures in this piece. It’s the greatest thing I have ever heard.”

The next year, at age 19 she won the silver medal at the Cliburn Competition, and the Beethoven piece was one of two concertos she presented in the final round.

Since then, the concerto has continued to become more personal to her. “I end up working on soft hushed chords for hours, because it’s no longer about the flashy runs. I’ve been doing them for 15 years. I should be able to do them.

“But, finding that inner meaning that is many shades from the obvious. I think that’s the treasures we need to find: how to voice the first chord of the Second Movement in a way that I hope people really experience what a key change is for the first time.

That one piano chord has six notes and there’s nothing complicated about it, she said. “But that’s the chord I heard by Bronfman that will never leave my mind. I could not believe my ears. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard and I felt like I was hallucinating.”

“It should go directly to your psyche, your heart. It remains timeless in my mind. It has to be just heartfelt enough; that balance between something so cerebral and something that is so emotional.”

Yang’s performance with the WFSO will be the first concert of the season for her after some time off this summer. She has a new chamber music recording out this week with the Alexander String Quartet.

If you attend the concert, please take note: “In the first movement, when I am done with the cadenza,” Yang said, “and the orchestra sort of creeps in playing what sounds almost like a heartbeat (that was there the whole time), I think that moment, til the end of movement which is not even a minute, I think that is the greatest writing of all time. It’s how Beethoven comes out of the piano cadenza and then brings the piece to a dramatic finish.

“I really hope all the hairs stand up on the back of your neck because that’s the moment I buy tickets to Beethoven 3 for is to hear how pianists do that differently. Just on that measure, the 10 seconds after the cadenza, I probably poured 100 hours in trying to get that right. I don’t know what it’s so significant. It’s so eerie and so mysterious and so mystical in a way.

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Richard Carter, For the Times Record News Published 12:00 a.m. CT Aug. 23, 2019 | Updated 6:46 a.m. CT Aug. 23, 2019

 

What: 2019-20 Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra season

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept 21, 2019 to April 18, 2010

Where: Memorial Auditorium, Seventh and BroadAdmission: Season tickets and single seat tickets available Information: WFSO.org or (940) 723-6202

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will open its 2019-2020 season, its third under Musical Director and Conductor Fouad Fakhouri, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Memorial Auditorium.         

Single non-season ticket seats went on sale earlier this past Monday for the new season online at the WFSO.org website or by calling them at (940) 723-6202.“We are going to do six performances this year,” said Fakhouri, “one of them a Young Person’s Concert. The major change from last season is that we will not perform at Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University.”Performing at Akin was very successful, he said, and they would like to schedule shows there in the future. “Our next step is to secure funding to do that on a permanent basis.”

The evening will open with Von Weber’s “Overture to Der Freischütz,” from the early German Romantic opera. “It’s a great piece of music heard more in Europe than US,” he said. Opening night will conclude with Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major.The Symphony returns on Nov 16 with a program called “Classical Tales” and will open with Rossini’s “Overture to ‘The Barber of Seville,’” a piece Fakhouri humorously said will be known by anyone who has seen Bugs Bunny. The WFSO will then play Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25,” “a great work from near the end of his career,” and Beethoven’s quite famous “Symphony No. 7.”

This “Classical Tales” program, he explained, is one for that’s not only for connoisseurs of classical music, but should also be popular with people who enjoy symphonic music. “This is the bread and butter of what we do. This will also be challenging program for the musicians and a great workout for them.”

Fakhouri is very excited about the 2019 Christmas program, “Home Alone in Concert” on Dec 14, 2019. “I am hoping the response will be similar to the Pixar concert we did,” he said. “We will perform the music by John Williams of the movie ‘Home Alone,’ and the movie will be projected on two screens, possibly more.”

The “Peter and the Wolf: The Young People’s Concert” follows on Jan 24, 2020 and was specifically designed for young people, he said. “We want to interact and engage with our young audiences.” They will also perform the first movement from Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “The National Anthem,” and Leroy Anderson’s “Plink, Plank, Plunk!”“Russian Masterpieces” will follow on Feb 29 and open with Bruckner’s “March in D Minor.” “I love his music, and this is a very good introduction to our audiences of that music.”Guest cellist Julian Schwartz will play Shostakovich’s “Cello Concerto No. 1” and the WFSO will then perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.” “This is more of a true Romantic program,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do the Tchaikovsky with the WFSO for some time and am really looking forward to it.”The 2019-20 WFSO season concludes with “Brilliantly Orchestrated” on April 18, 2020. The evening will open with a world premiere of Fakhouri’s “Krupa,” “providing I finish it,” he said with a laugh. Guest pianist Andrey Ponochevny will play Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini,” and the orchestra will perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous piece, “Scheherazade.”“The mindset for this season is to continue to build on the growth of the first two seasons,” Fakhouri said. “To find pieces that will appeal to our audiences and to try to continue on the growth of the previous seasons. “What I am trying to do is to try new things to see what is working and what is not working as well and to try to always find ways to engage with our audiences and to attract new ones. This season hopefully has enough variety to be able to do that.”  Prior to each performance at approximately 6:45 p.m., the conductor will deliver informal pre-concert talks about the musical pieces to be performed that evening.

 
 

UPDATE! 9-16-20

THE LIVE AT THE LAKE CONCERT PLANNED FOR 9-17-20 HAS BEEN CANCELLED!

Due to the current restrictions in place by the City of Wichita Falls, the Live at the Lake concert with the WFSO has been cancelled.  The event was scheduled to take place at the Museum of Art at MSU’s Priddy Pavilion on Sept. 17.  In order to keep our patrons and musicians safe, the WFSO and MSU Museum of Art has made the decision to cancel this outdoor event.  

Please watch for updates this fall about events happening with the WFSO. Season tickets for our Spring Concert Season go on sale in October! 

 

Updated 7-10-2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 WICHITA FALLS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA DELAYS START OF 2020/2021 SEASON  Wichita Falls, TX (July 13, 2020)

 The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will delay the start of the 2020-2021 concert season due to the challenges and uncertainties created by COVID-19. “This was a difficult decision but one we believe allows us the best opportunity to sustain our organization through the current crisis, fulfill our mission to promote symphonic music in the Texoma community, and be well-positioned to recover quickly,” stated WFSO Board President, Elizabeth Yeager.

 WFSO Executive Director Alicia Deges says, “Our top priority has to be the health and safety of our patrons, musicians and staff. Our current plan is to begin our concert season in January 2021 with a full concert at Memorial Auditorium that includes plans to allow for safe social distancing for our musicians and our audience.” This decision was the result of careful consideration of a number of financial, logistical, and health and safety factors. Among these challenges included the state’s June 3 reopening guidelines limiting performance halls to 50% capacity and the requirement for socially distanced seating for orchestra musicians and audience members. The spring season will include adapted education programs and subscription concerts in January, February, and April. Plans are being made for alternative performance opportunities for WFSO musicians, including small ensemble performances at different venues in the community. The WFSO also hopes to present a chamber group at The Priddy Pavilion on September 17, 2020 as part of the Live at the Lake Concert series.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our musicians, many of whom rely solely on performances at concerts like ours. They have lost virtually all of that income,” said Deges. “Financial contributions from our loyal patrons will be more crucial now than ever to make our 2020-2021 season possible. Annual Fund contributions can be made now either online or by mail.”

 Yeager says, “Our goal is the long-term sustainability of the WFSO. By preserving our capital today, we expect to celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2021-2022 with a full season of outstanding symphonic music.”  WFSO patrons can expect season ticket renewals to begin in October 2020 and will have the opportunity to confirm their subscription with season ticket holders receiving first priority for seating. 

Inquiries regarding subscriptions and ticket sales may be directed to WFSO Box Office Manager, Jenny Oliver at 940-723-6202 or via email at info@wfso.org.  Other inquiries can be made by contacting WFSO Executive Director Alicia Deges at 940-723-6202 or via email at wfsoed@wfso.org. 

 

May 29, 2020 —  Dear family and friends of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra,

In an effort to be responsible with our resources and faithful to our mission, the Wichita Falls Symphony board or directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the rescheduled concert on August 15, 2020.  The uncertainty of holding a large gathering and the amount of planning and resources required to do that will just not allow us to move forward with the concert. Though this news is disappointing, the health and safety of our musicians, patrons, and staff is our first priority.  Please consider donating the cost of your tickets for a tax deduction or allowing the value of the tickets to be used as a credit next season.  This would greatly assist us during this challenging period when we are unable to provide concerts. 

While we are unable to perform at Memorial Auditorium, the WFSO is working hard to find creative ways to keep the music alive.  We invite you to tune in to our new weekly music playlist, Legato in times of Staccato at  http://www.wfso.org/2019/05/02/legato-in-times-of-staccato/ .  Also be sure to follow our social media channels for updates and ways to connect with us while we are apart.   Please stay safe and healthy.  We look forward to being back with you in the concert hall very soon.

TICKETING OPTIONS

We hope that you will consider exchanging or donating your tickets and have several convenient options:

Donate your ticket.  Your tax-deductible donation will help the Wichita Falls Symphony fulfill its mission and is especially appreciated during this time of uncertainty.

Exchange your ticket. We would love for you to join us at a future performance in the 20-21 concert season.

Receive credit on your account. Unsure of which concert you would like to exchange for? We will place your funds on your account for future use.

For other ticketing options, please contact the WFSO office via email at info@wfso.org or by phone (940)723-6202.

Sincerely,

Alicia Deges

Executive Director

Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra

 

4-29-20 — Dear Friends of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra,

During these unprecedented times when we cannot gather in person, we are constantly exploring ways that we as an organization can connect with you. In looking to the future, we will make decisions based upon two overriding guiding principles. First and foremost, we will do everything we can to protect the health and safety of our musicians, patrons, and staff. Second, we will strive to ensure that the mission of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra is upheld and sustained. For us, this means commitment to promoting music that enriches our lives, educates our students, and entertains our audiences.

We have spent a great deal of time discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, and the impact that both have on the WFSO. While this disruption is significant, and will undoubtedly require a lengthy recovery, we are confident that we will come out of this stronger than before. The WFSO has been a leading cultural force in Texoma for almost 75 years and our foundation remains firm. We are grateful for the continued support of our donors and patrons. Decades of strong board leadership have ensured that we have a solid foundation to withstand financial stresses while maintaining our commitment to artistic excellence and providing our region with inspiring symphonic music.

To date, the leadership of the WFSO has taken focused action to ensure the safety of our patrons and our musicians: 

  • We have rescheduled our April 2020 concert to August 15, 2020.
  • We continue to monitor and reassess our upcoming season to ensure the safety and health of our musicians and audiences. To that end we are considering a number of options such as social distancing within Memorial Auditorium and streaming concerts online in real time.

Although, at this moment, we are disappointed that we cannot share live music with you we remain optimistic about our future. The adversity we are facing today will almost certainly usher in opportunities for new and creative ideas that will allow us to continue to engage and connect with you. Our shared love of great symphonic music will without a doubt carry us through this difficult and challenging time. 

We are grateful for your ongoing support and treasure your commitment to the WFSO throughout the years. We look forward to better days and a brighter future.

 

Fouad Fakhouri                                 Alicia Deges                                        Elizabeth Yeager

Music Director                                   Executive Director                           Board President

Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra

 

 

Updated 3-30-20, 3:15PM

Dear Friends of the WFSO:

We are all sharing a world that is very different than it was just several weeks ago, and it’s changing by the day. However, we are optimistic that we will return to the stage at Memorial Auditorium for our 20/21 season!

Last week we shared with you our plan to postpone the final concert of the season which was scheduled to take place on April 18th. We will continue to closely monitor updates and recommendations from our public health officials regarding the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our future performances.

At this time, the WFSO is looking to reschedule the “Brilliantly Orchestrated” concert on August 15, 2020. We will communicate more details as soon as they become available. If you are a current season ticket holder, your 2019-20 season ticket will be honored at the rescheduled concert.

Anyone who purchased single tickets to the April concert can:

~Retain your tickets for the rescheduled concert;

~Donate your tickets and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value;

~Receive a refund for the value of your ticket.

For assistance, please contact us by email at info@wfso.org, by phone at 940-723-6202.

We are thankful that you — our patrons, donors, and friends — have helped us prepare for this challenging time. Your ongoing connection to and support of our organization through the years has helped make us who we are today and prepared us to meet this enormous challenge. While we are well-positioned, we all know that we are facing uncharted territory and uncertainty about what the future may bring. February marked the beginning of our Annual Fund Campaign which raises vital funds for the incredible concerts we bring to the community each season. We hope that you will continue to support the WFSO even now as planning is underway for our 20/21 season.

Yours,

Alicia Deges

Executive Director

Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra

 

Updated 3-25-20, 12:00PM

Our Office is Temporarily Closed March 23 – April 6, 2020

In order to protect the health and safety of our patrons, musicians, and staff – and comply with local, federal and state recommendations, the Wichita Falls Symphony staff will be working remotely between March 23 and April 6.

During this period, you are invited to leave a telephone message for the office at 940-723-6202 or send us an email message at info@wfso.org.  Our staff will respond as soon as they can. During these challenging times, we encourage everyone to follow the CDC‘s guidelines and be safe.

At the end of the two weeks, we will evaluate and determine the next steps based on the advice of our health authorities.

 

Updated 3-16-20, 4:30PM

Dear Friends of the WFSO:

Due to the rapidly changing situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra is postponing our April 18, 2020 concert, Brilliantly Orchestrated, with guest pianist Andrey Ponochevny. More information will made available to patrons via email, phone, social media, and posted on our website, www.wfso.org. In the meantime, please hold on to your tickets.

While our concerts and programs are crucial to the fulfillment of our mission, we are most concerned for the health and well-being of our patrons, orchestra musicians, and staff. We ask that you follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of this virus and be vigilant in seeking information from trusted sources.

We look forward to bringing music to the stage of Memorial Auditorium as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued support during this challenging time.

Yours,
Alicia Deges
Executive Director

 
 

Music has an amazing way to connect people in any circumstance.  There is something about it that seems to bring us closer together when we listen, play or sing together. While we cannot be with you in person at the concert hall through this storm, we are committed to find other ways to connect.  We will provide a weekly play list for you, “Legato in times of Staccato”, curated by Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri.  Simply click on each of the titles on the list below to view a special music selection. Also included each week is a Spotify playlist for you to enjoy all the selections together. 
 We invite you to participate each week by sending us music (from any genre) that you have found comforting and uplifting. We hope that through music we can encourage each other through these uncertain times. Send your play list additions to us at info@wfso.org. Preferable formats are YouTube and Sound Cloud clips, or just share the title and artist or composer and we will do our best to find it!

 

Playlist #25 – Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

   Curated by Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri 

The Music of John Williams

 

Tuba Concerto

Trumpet Concerto

Cello Concerto: I. Theme & Cadenza

Empire of the Sun – Suite

The Accidental Tourist – Theme

Born on the Fourth of July

Home Alone – Soundtrack Suite

Suite from JFK

Nixon – The 1960’s: The Turbulent Years

Minority Report – Anderton’s Great Escape

The Adventures of Tintin – Theme

Catch Me If You Can

Schindler’s List – Jewish Town Krakow Ghetto, Winter ’41

The Terminal – A Legend is Born

Artificial Intelligence – Hide and Seek

Munich – Prayer for Peace

Memoirs of a Geisha – Becoming a Geisha

Harry Potter – Hagrid the Professor

Seven Years in Tibet – Main Theme

The Patriot – Main Theme

 

 

***To access the full Spotify playlist for week #25, click here!***

 

Previous Playlists

 
 
What: Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Dance Mix

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb 23

Where: Memorial Auditorium, 1300 7th St.

Information: (940) 723-6202 or WFSO.org.

 

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra’s Dance Mix program with the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre began with WFSO Conductor and Music Director Fouad Fakhouri programming music that related to dance.

“As we were brainstorming,” Fakhouri said, “the symphony office suggested we ask the Ballet Theatre to collaborate with us. We set up a meeting and that’s how it happened. I wished I could claim that I had that idea,” he said with a laugh, “but I am very glad that it happened.”

The WFSO Dance Mix program will open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 23 at Memorial Auditorium and will feature dancers from the WFBT.

There will be 15 dancers performing to 3 of the evenings 6 musical pieces. “I am excited about that collaboration and the concert.”

He has since worked with dancers numerous times in terms of traditional ballet such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and the maestro enjoys modern as well.

The evening will open with a short 2-minute piece by Verdi from the opera “Aida” called “Dance of the Little Moorish Slaves.” “It’s taken from a large section in opera, where there are dancers and the action stops and there is one dance after another.

“It’s a pretty upbeat piece,” he said.

Next is Bizet’s “Carmen Suite #1,” an opera, he said, which part has since been choreographed for dance.

Four dancers from the ballet will join the WFSO on “Carmen,” said Mischic Liberatore, artistic director for the WFBT. “It has very much as a Spanish flair,” she said and there will be 4 dancers in point shows over the 12 minute piece.  

The dance program will continue with Khachaturian’s “Gayane Ballet.” “Khachaturian is a composer I really, really like,” Fakhouri said. “He’s less known in the United States. He was Armenian and lived during the Soviet era.

“His music is really authentic. You cannot hear it and not think it’s not Khachaturian. ‘Gayane Ballet” is one of those ballets where every single section is well known, famous or utterly beautiful, but it’s not done often.

Fakhouri said that he wanted to expose his audience to the composer. “It will be familiar on the one hand, but it will also be new for many of them, but accessible.”

 The next piece, Copland’s “Hoe-down” from “Rodeo” is a piece everyone knows, he said, and the WFBT will perform in cowboy boots, point shoes and western gear, said Liberatore. “It’s like the big party that’s part of our ‘Western Ballet.”

The Symphony will then perform two pieces of Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,” No. 6 and No. 8. They are very short, about 4 or 5 minutes each, and are part of the symphonic repertoire, he said.

The evening concludes with Bernstein’s 23 minute “West Side Story-Symphonic Dances,” which the WFBT dancers will come in and out of during the performance. “It will be more of that Jerome Robbins’ (the movie choreographer) contemporary jazzy feeling with a little bit of ballet mixed in,” said Liberatore. 

“Who hasn’t seen West Side Story,’ the iconic American story, which is basically ‘Romeo and Juliet’ reimagined on the west side of New York City,” asked Fakhouri.

“It’s a fantastic piece and a great arrangement. The most famous part is ‘The Mambo’ where the word ‘Mambo’ is yelled out in the middle. Bernstein really never intended for this arrangement for symphony orchestra to be danced to,” he said.

Fakhouri said this program was such an excellent opportunity to partner with another arts organization in Wichita Falls and to showcase both of their talents. “Our symphony musicians and their dancers – it’s a win win for all of us in terms of the arts.”

The last time for the WFSO to partner with the Ballet, said Symphony Executive Director Sherry Ransom, was three years ago when several members of the Ballet danced the “Nutcracker” as part of the WFSO’s Christmas concert.