Yearly Archives:2018

Nancy Scott began her idyllic life in Wichita Falls being born and raised here.  While attending Colorado State University for a degree in History and Secondary Education, she had many great adventures working with the U.S. Forest Service on the Arapaho – Roosevelt National Forest.  After graduation, she returned to Wichita Falls and began her  27- year career as a teacher at Petrolia ISD and teaching Kindergarten and Texas History at Windthorst ISD.  Upon retirement, she was invited by Carol Sales to become part of the very beautiful Kemp Center for the Arts and she has been working with the Arts Council for ten years.   Nancy stated that, “Friends and I have truly enjoyed this very artistic community.  We have tried to attend as many events, performances and festivals as possible because it is wonderful to have so many very talented artists in this region.”  Nancy says that she is excited to volunteer with the symphony and considers it an honor.  The WFSO is honored to have such incredible volunteers who are passionate about the arts in Wichita Falls! 
     

 
 

Richard Carter, For the Times Record News

Published 12:00 a.m. CT Aug. 17, 2018

What: The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019 season

Where: Akin Auditorium, Midwestern State University, 3410 Taft Blvd and Memorial Auditorium, Seventh & Broad

When: Sept 22 through April 7, 2019

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

Admission: Single tickets just went on sale online. See event for prices.

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will open and close its 2018-2019 season at Akin Auditorium at Midwestern State University, with a Saturday evening and Sunday matinee for its Sept. 22-3 and April 7-8, 2019, performances.

The WFSO will also perform four concerts from Nov. 3 to Feb. 23, 2019 at Memorial Auditorium, the symphony’s home for many years.  

Non-season tickets went on sale earlier this week for the New Directions 2018-2019 season, the second under Musical Director and Conductor Fouad Fakhouri. Tickets are on sale online at the WFSO.org website or by contacting them at (940) 723-6202.

Fakhouri explained there were excellent reasons to open and close the season at Akin Auditorium with an evening show and a matinee. “We want to be able to attract people that may not be able to attend our evening concerts.

“The other reason to program concerts there,” he said, “is that I can program pieces that are more intimate, pieces that might get lost at Memorial,” he said.

The first Akin performance will open at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 and 3 p.m. Sept. 23 with Ives “The Unanswered Question,” Mozart “Piano Concerto No. 21” and Mendelssohn “Symphony No. 4.” “If you performed those pieces at Memorial,” he said, “they would work, the Mendelssohn would work, but you would lose the sort of intimacy of those pieces in comparison to doing them at Akin, specifically the Mozart.

The Mozart will feature Lewis Warren, a young pianist who began in Wichita Falls and who Fakhouri said is fantastic.

The WFSO will return to Memorial auditorium right after Halloween at 7:30 Nov. 3 to perform an appropriately titled “Symphonie Fantastique.” The evening features Saint-Saens “Dance Macabre, Op. 40,” Schumann “Piano Concerto in A Minor” and Berlioz “Symphonie Fantastique.”

The Schumann piano concerto, Fakhouri said, goes back to the performance of the Edvard Grieg piano concerto last season. “Grieg based his piano concerto on the Schumann. They are in the same key and open almost the same. Grieg was enamored of this piece of music.”

 
 

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 71st anniversary with their season opener on September 22nd under the baton of Fouad Fakhouri. Last season, Fakhouri’s first with the WFSO, proved to be one of the best seasons in recent memory with guest artists Wilford Brimley, Martin Camacho, Canadian Brass, and Pixar in Concert.

This season continues moving the WFSO in new directions and promises to be equally as engaging. There’s a big difference this year, though. The WFSO has added a sixth concert to the 2018-2019 season. Not only is there an extra concert on the schedule, two of the six concerts will be performed at Akin Auditorium on the campus of MSU-Texas. Alicia Deges, Assistant Executive Director, says, “We are anticipating that this new direction for the WFSO will make concert-going better for our patrons. Not only is the new venue more accessible physically, but the addition of an additional performance time will make a perfect afternoon activity for young families and students!”

The two Akin concerts are really four, in that each Saturday evening performance will be repeated during a Sunday matinee at 3:00 pm. Akin is known for its excellent acoustics. It’s smaller than Memorial Auditorium—smaller and more intimate, which will give Fakhouri the opportunity to present music that is itself a little more intimate, like American composer Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Italian” symphony. According to the Maestro, “The new Akin series expands our traditional concert offering, allowing us to explore repertoire that is better suited for a more intimate venue. The fact that Akin has superior acoustics is a great plus for our musicians, guest artists and our audiences.”

Also new this season are four thematic concerts—“Symphonie Fantastique” to celebrate the arrival of fall in early November, the “WFSO does Hollywood” in January, “Dance Mix” in February, and, of course, the annual WFSO “Holiday Celebration” in December.

The orchestra will be joined by three young world-class soloists this season. Pianist Lewis Warren, Jr. will be performing Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major” on Sept. 22nd at Akin. Warren, a native of Wichita Falls, has studied at both SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the New England Conservatory in Boston. Another young pianist, Shai Wosner, will perform Schumann’s “Piano Concert in A Minor” on Nov. 3rd. Originally from Israel, Wosner has studied with several well-known teachers in America, including Emanuel Ax at the Juilliard School. The season finale will feature violinist William Hagen, who was recently hailed in “The Dallas Morning News” as a “brilliant virtuoso.” “I am very excited about next season’s guest artists,” says Fakhouri. “They are brilliant soloists who bring great virtuosity and artistry to the concert hall. I am particularly looking forward to working, once again, with my friend Shai Wosner.”

For more information on what is sure to be an exciting season, call 940-723-6202 or visit wfso.org or Facebook (Wichita Falls Symphony).

 

-Dr. Todd Giles

 

 

 
 

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra has had a long and productive relationship with Midwestern State University going back to 1948 when their first conductor, Frederic Balazs, took a faculty position at MSU and established the WFSO as the tenth orchestra in Texas.

More recently, MSU piano professor Ruth Morrow was joined by two of the orchestra’s most important advocates and benefactors, Aurora Bolin and Dale Prothro, in 1999 for a performance of Mozart’s “Concerto for Three Pianos and Orchestra,” and last year MSU’s Martin Camacho joined the orchestra to perform the music of Grieg.

This season the WFSO will for the first time in their 71-year history present regular performances at Akin Auditorium on the MSU campus. These concerts will open and close the season. “Akin Auditorium offers the WFSO an opportunity to perform music perfectly suited to the more intimate performance space,” says Elizabeth Yeager, President of the WFSO. “By offering both a Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performance, we hope to give more community members an opportunity to experience the music of the WFSO.”

The opening concert will be held on Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm at Akin, with the Sunday matinee at 3:00 pm. The guest artist for the first two Akin concerts will be pianist Lewis Warren Jr. Like Mozart, Warren began composing his own songs at the age of five, and since the age of eight, he has been a top-prize winner in local, state and international piano competitions.

“We are so excited to have Lewis perform as a guest artist with the orchestra this season,” says the WFSO’s Katie Parkey. “For the past two summers, the WFSO has partnered with the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation and the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture to present Lewis at the TALL summer arts camps. At the workshops, he performed piano, sang, talked about his life journey, and worked with the campers. He is an inspiring young man!”

For the season opener, Warren will be joining members of the WFSO and Maestro Fakhouri in a performance of Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major.” The program will also include Felix Mendelssohn’s “Italian Symphony,” and a short American masterpiece for orchestra from 1906. Fakhouri, who spearheaded the new Akin concerts, says, “I am very much looking forward to performing these great masterpieces at Akin Auditorium. I specifically wanted to open the series with ‘The Unanswered Question’ by one of the most innovative American composers, the modernist Charles Ives.”

Warren, who has performed with many orchestras around the country, has also appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and was featured on “NASCAR’s Samsung 500,” where he performed the “National Anthem” in front of over 200,000 live spectators. In March 2012, he was a featured performer at the Van Cliburn Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration, and has recently released his first two CDs—“Shine on Us,” recorded at the Gateway Church and in 2015, and a holiday instrumental titled “A Christmas Album.”

Along with the new Akin concerts and this season’s three young guest artists, orchestral music fans will also have four new thematic concerts to look forward to—“Symphonie Fantastique,” “WFSO does Hollywood,” “Dance Mix,” and the annual “Holiday Celebration.” Those interested in learning more about the season can call 940-723-6202, or visit wfso.org.

 

-Dr. Todd Giles

 

 

 

 
 


Will Coppoc plays double bass for the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. He’s rather new to the orchestra. He began playing with the WFSO in the 2016/2017 season. Will also plays the electric bass, and every now and then, the piano.

He received a Bachelor’s in Music Performance from the University of North Texas (where He graduated summa cum laude) and a master’s in performance and pedagogy from Oklahoma State University.

Will grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both of his par-ents have musical talent. They exposed him to music from an early age, encouraging him to take piano lessons, and later to enroll in school orchestra. Music of many styles could be heard both at home and in the car.

He says that he owes so much of his success in music to his parents, wheth-er for taking him to lessons every week or providing him with quality instruments.

His interest in music began with his taking piano lessons from age five. He remem-bers hearing music from movies and tele-vision as a kid, and watching to be able to play the music for himself at the piano. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to practice. His mother had to sit with him to make sure that he practiced every evening. However, his attitude toward practice began to change when he discovered the double bass in school orchestra. It was the beginning of a passion that is still quite strong.

His first musical memory was from his first piano lesson, which he remembers quite distinctly. He remem-bers being less excited by the piano, and more excited by his teacher’s pet perrot, which she would occasionally al-low him to feed.

When Will was a teenager, he had the great for-tune of living in Cairo, Egypt for several years. One year he was asked to play double bass for a Christmas pageant at a church he attended. Before the service started, someone told him to make sure that he stayed out of the path of the camel. That was the first he had heard of any camel, and he had no idea what this person was talking about. But sure enough, once the service began, here came one of the Wise Men on camelback. And of course, the camel parked itself right in front of him, and he played the ser-vice from behind the camel. It was certainly an interesting experience for him.

His first concert with WFSO was a pops concert featuring The Midtown Men. He remembers how friendly and humble the four gentlemen were to him and the other members of the orchestra. He says It was refreshing to work with such easygoing and talented guest artists. Will very much appreciates the orchestra, its conductor, and supporting staff. He is also grateful to the patrons who attend concerts and help support the organization in its desire to bring quality art to the community.

In addition to WFSO, Will plays with the 77th Army Band, which is his primary, full-time job. He also plays some with the Lawton Philharmonic, The Oklahoma City Philharmonic, The Tulsa Symphony, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. In addition, He play for three different churches, as well as with the Oklahoma Baptist Sym-phony, a volunteer group.

He enjoys many genres of music, including classical, jazz, rock, and country, although he has a par-ticular affinity for film music. His favorite composer changes quite often, but he says it is probably Ralph Vaughan Williams.

In his free time, you will usually find him reading. He enjoys many genres of books, from thrillers to science fiction, and also non-fiction. He is also an avid book and music review-er on Amazon. In addition, he likes to spend time with his friends and family.

Thanks to the WF Symphony League for proving our musician spotlight.  

 
 

Richard Carter, For the Times Record News

Published 5:14 p.m. CT April 16, 2018 | Updated 5:15 p.m. CT April 16, 2018

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra closed its 70th season Saturday night with an extremely fun and entertaining multi-media pops concert, “Pixar in Concert,” a program which sold out.

While symphony representatives were not sure, Saturday may have been the first sold-out symphony performance since Van Cliburn played with the orchestra (twice) in the 1960’s.

“Pixar in Concert” clearly capped off an inspired season for the WFSO and points to a very bright 2018-19 season, and beyond, for the orchestra.

The Pixar show brought the talented WFSO musicians together with guest performers to play the soundtrack music to shortened versions of 14 Pixar animated films, which were shown on two 8-by-14 foot screens hung high above the orchestra.

Nine of those films had won Academy Awards for Best Animated Film. Two were nominated for Best Picture: “Up” and “Toy Story 3.”

Fouad Fakhouri, WFSO conductor and music director, faced his musical score, a smaller video screen showing the Pixar films and his musicians (in that order) to bring together the flowing, dynamic and eclectic music with the colorful and often striking moving images.

Whether audience members knew the movies or not, and most kids and their younger parents clearly did, the visual sections were smartly edited to convey the story or an important part of the storyline.  

“Toy Story” was very playful and whimsical with an appropriate sense of awe when things “got real.” The live music did more than simply track visual movement, it gave the montage of colorful images a life-like sense of drama.

The curated sounds of live musical instruments performing in the auditorium were that powerful.

From time to time, Fakhouri turned to the audience and very helpfully asked them to listen to a particular instrument, such as the English horn as it related to the lead character in Thomas Newman’s piece for “Wall-E.”

 Before playing Giacchino’s “Up,” the conductor spoke about how music sets the mood. Immediately upon saying that, a child began loudly crying, and he replied, “I promise it’s not that bad.”

That said, there were very few dry eyes after the bittersweet ending of the beautiful “Up.”

At the beginning of the second act, the conductor pointed to the next symphony season when he mentioned the James Bond-like musical similarities of Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” and “Cars 2” and then said the January 26, 2019 “WFSO does Hollywood” program will include Bond music.

Newman’s “Monsters, Inc.” featured someone brilliantly wailing on a saxophone, with a stylish jazz feel throughout.

The program finished strongly with the touching “Toy Story 3” (Newman); the adventurous, dramatic and intense “Brave” (which the music seamlessly fused with to bring to life); and a smartly fitting finale, “Monster’s University” (Newman).

Following a standing ovation by the crowd, which featured a refreshing number of children in attendance, the orchestra played an encore to a montage of Pixar films.

It was a memorable season-ending performance on a night when the Cirque Italia and Cowboy True were playing not far from around the corner.

The WFSO released its schedule for its 2018-19 season in the program.

 

 
 

Violinist John Schertz first began playing with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra in the early 1970s under Conductor William Boyer his Dallas-area commitments forced him to “take a leave” until 2005 when he resumed playing  under Dr. Candler Schaffer and now under Fouad Fakhouri.

John grew up in San Antonio, but he has been in the North Texas area since his college days. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin are from the University of North Texas. While at UNT, he played with the Fort Worth Symphony. For 17 years he taught orchestra/strings in Dallas ISD.

He also earned an associate degree in Information Technology from El Centro, Dallas, then entered the business world as a programmer/analyst, working for several large banks and insurance companies. This past June he retired from BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas.

For a number of years, he was a freelancer, performing with the Lenny Dawson Orchestra and for 10 years as a member of the Dallas Strolling Strings, which performed nightly at the Dallas Anatole. He has also played with the symphonies of Sherman, Richardson, Plano and Tyler. Currently he plays only with the WFSO.

One of his vivid music memories occurred when he was in high school and attended a San Antonio Symphony concert watching Aaron Copland conduct his Appalachian Spring—then went backstage where Copland signed his program. “He was so kind and seemed interested as I expressed my hope that the San Antonio Youth Symphony would perform his work. His second memory is singing Christmas carols (in German) in a small church in Germany on Christmas Eve and then the next day walking into a beautiful church with amazing acoustics and listening to several movements of the Bach Christmas Oratorio performed by a wonderful choir and orchestra.

John says the WFSO has had many great performances with world-class soloists, but guitarist Sharon Isbin’s visits are standouts due to her wonderful musicality and beautiful personality.

Mozart is his favorite composer, but he has always loved the Beatles.

As a young child, he listened to an aunt’s records of Broadway musicals and Strauss waltzes then discovered Mantovani and Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, which opened to him the world of classical music. While other kids were blasting out rock ‘n’ roll, he was blasting out Beethoven and Bach. He began playing violin in the 6th grade and immediately began private lessons.

In addition to music, John likes to spend time at the gym and reading. Recently he took a road trip to Santa Fe and Taos to absorb some of the artistic and spiritual atmosphere. The household also has two “very spoiled rescue dogs” who somehow prefer to sleep while John is practicing.

John states: “… I’ve appreciated the Wichita Falls community support for the arts and particularly the symphony and school string programs. It’s been wonderful seeing this commitment grow and mature over the years, and it makes me happy knowing that I’m contributing to this spirit in some small way each time I play with the WFSO.

Thanks to the Wichita Symphony League for sharing their “Musician Spotlight”!

 
 

Richard Carter, For the Times Record News

Published 12:37 a.m. CT Jan. 5, 2018

If you go:

What: Gypsy Cattle Drive

Where: Akin Auditorium, Midwestern State University, 3411 Taft Boulevard

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan 9

Admission: Free, no reservations.

Information: (940) 723-6202

The Gypsy Cattle Drive is coming through Akin Auditorium in Midwestern State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 9.

The five-piece Gypsy Cattle Drive group plays an eclectic selection of music, according to area member David Holcomb, the primarily Dallas-based ensemble’s violin and mandolin player.

The free concert is open to the public and is part of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Education Program, made possible by a grant from the Priddy Foundation.

It’s the third year for the concert, which also features an afternoon clinic/workshop for WFISD junior high and high school orchestra students along with high school choirs.

Gypsy Cattle Drive features Coleman Smith on violin, Ginny Mac on accordion, Glenn McLaughlin on guitar, Drew Phelps on bass and Holcomb. Each of the members sing.

The group will perform a movement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, and selections from the gypsy jazz, western swing, blues and bluegrass genres.

“We’re called Gypsy Cattle Drive because we’re not one certain genre of music,” said Holcomb. “It’s quite a big variety that we’re going to try and do. Regardless of what kind of music people attending the concert favor, they will come away liking something because it’s such a varied program.”

The group previously came to Wichita Falls in 2015 to play for eight WFISD elementary schools and then the remaining schools in 2016. That same year they performed a Sunday afternoon children’s concert at the Forum.

 “Most of us have a classical background,” he said, “and most of us started playing in grade school. The emphasis we will put on the workshop is to show the kids that after they graduate from high school that they can continue do their music.”

McLaughlin and Phelps studied at University of North Texas, and both stay quite busy performing in the Metroplex, Holcomb said.

Smith, who founded the band, performs around the world and recently did a six country tour of Europe. Mac is proficient on piano and accordion and sings “everything from Western Swing to Broadway classics to whatever,” he said.

Holcomb taught school in Wichita Falls for 35 years, plays in Prairie Moon and has performed around the southern half of the country.

The group also plays in various configurations including trios and quartets, “depending on the venue and our availability of the musicians,” he said. “Everybody works professionally and stays busy. They booked us way in advance,” he laughed.