Author Archives: Alicia Deges

The WFSO is eagerly awaiting the Saturday, April 17, 2021 concert which will welcome a limited in-person audience to Memorial Auditorium.   The limited number of tickets were offered to season subscribers first and sold out quickly.   


WFSO Audition Process & Procedure:

-Applicants will be assigned audition time at least one (1) week prior to audition, when possible.
-The WFSO auditions will be played before the Audition Committee and Music Director/Conductor.
Preliminary rounds shall be played behind a screen, the committee will be unable to view candidate.
-A screen shall not be required for the semi and/or final rounds of the audition but may be used if the
Audition Committee opts to do so.

To apply, send one-page resume by email to:

Any additional questions may be addressed to Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Executive
Director, Alicia Deges at or 940-704-1823.



DATE:                     JANUARY 12, 2021




CONTACT:              Alicia Deges, WFSO Executive Director 


The board of directors of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra voted to hold the January 23, 2021 concert without a live audience.  “The safety of our musicians, audience and staff is always going to be our highest priority”, stated Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri. 

While we are very anxious to welcome you back to Memorial Auditorium and live concerts, we feel that a more cautious approach is best at this time when COVID infection rates are once again on the rise. 

A reduced complement of WFSO musicians will gather to perform the concert as planned. However, a live audience will not be present at the January 23 concert.  A professional video will be recorded, produced and made available for on-demand viewing beginning January 30, 2021.  Online access to the concert can be purchased online at, or by calling the WFSO administrative office at 940-723-6202.

Additionally, a “Wine and Music Pairing” program will be offered in conjunction with the concert.  Patrons will have the opportunity to enhance their at-home concert experience by purchasing specially selected wines to accompany the music being performed.  Wine-expert Carl Andrews from Moreson Wineries, will use his skills to pair the perfect wine to complement the concert, offering unique tasting notes for each selection.  Local wineries involved in the project include Horseshoe Bend Cellars, Hook & Ladder Wine Co, 6th Street Winery. OG Cellars, WF Brewing Company, as well as Brie Charcuterie. 

Information about purchasing an On-Demand tickets and the Wine and Music Pairing program can be found on the WFSO website at 


Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Press Release


November 10, 2020

Subject: The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Jazz Band Performance on Sheppard AFB

Contact:  Alicia Deges, WFSO Executive Director

               Amanda Peck, WFSO Director of Education & Community Outreach

Phone: 940-723-6202

On Saturday, November 7th, 2020, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Jazz Ensemble held a performance titled, “Jazz on the Lawn,” on Sheppard Air Force Base. Twelve musicians performed jazz standards and popular tunes for our military members and their families at the Parade Grounds on the base. The concert was sponsored by the Music Performance Trust Fund in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians in an effort to provide admission-free music in communities.

The concert took place at 4PM, and the audience was scattered across the parade field lawn, with plenty of room to safely distance family groups. The musicians were innovative by using special masks created for playing wind and brass instruments, and distanced during the performance. “The safety of our musicians and our audience is our highest priority,” stated Alicia Deges, WFSO’s Executive Director. “We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere where people felt comfortable coming out and enjoying some live music.”

The performance was meaningful to WFSO musicians as well, providing the first opportunity to play music together since February. “It was such an incredible feeling to be able to perform together again,” said double-bass player, Amanda Peck. Amanda is also the WFSO’s Director of Education and Community Engagement and was also responsible for coordination efforts surrounding the event. The event was attended by roughly 200 service members and their families.  The concert was also enjoyed by SAFB leadership, including Brigadier General Kenyon Bell, Commander of Sheppard AFB, who attended and expressed his gratitude to the WFSO for providing the concert for the personnel at SAFB.

Sheila Lucas is a native Dallasite, born in the Deep Ellum section of downtown. She received a Bachelor of Music Performance from UNT, and a master’s degree from A&M. For over 30 years Sheila has played coast to coast with ensembles ranging from regional symphonies to rock groups. In 1994, she joined the WFSO and quickly fell in love with the orchestra, the patrons, and the city. An interest in Texas politics led Sheila to becoming a Precinct chair for the Texas Senate, District 2, and also serve as a Dallas County Election Judge.
Fun Facts:
Favorite Wichita Falls restaurant: When in Wichita Falls, I enjoy dining at the Pioneer Restaurant or grabbing a pizza from Marco’s.
Describe your family and/or pets: A rescued Pitbull and two cats
Favorite hobby: In my free time, I enjoy hanging around my home on Lake Ray Hubbard, learning to paddle-board and wind surf, gardening, cooking, playing with my pets. I’m a lifelong motorcycle rider, and currently ride a Yamaha Star 650 custom. So, between the bass, the dog, and my bike, my house can get pretty loud!
Age you started playing your instrument: in the 6th grade
Favorite onstage moment: My favorite onstage moments occur when I can’t tell if it is sweat or tears running down my face.
Favorite piece of music: My musical tastes are quite eclectic, with Glam Rock and electro-dance being my favorites as far as pops goes, and in the orchestra, I like the heavy stuff, so I can ‘bring my thunder’.

Paul Palmer started playing violin in the 5th grade. At the age of 14, he went to a music camp at Midwestern State University where he participated in a master class with Paul Rolland. Mr. Rolland then invited him to attend the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL where he studied violin and played viola in the orchestra and in chamber music. After graduation, he attended the University of Illinois for 3 semesters then transferred back to Dallas and completed his studies at SMU. Paul toured Europe with The New York Harlem Theater Ensemble, playing Carmen Jones for 9 months in 11 countries. He has played with The Dallas Opera, the Tulsa Opera, the Utah Festival Opera, the Spoleto Festival/Festival Dei Due Mondi, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, as well as symphonies in the North Texas area including Amarillo, Shreveport, Waco, Longview, Texarkana, Tyler, Oklahoma City and Lawton, OK among others. He also has a teaching studio of about 50 students in the Plano ISD. When not practicing, Paul enjoys studying foreign languages and playing contract bridge and chess. He is an active member in his church orchestra at the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ.

Fun Facts about Paul

Birthplace:  Dallas, TX, but I grew up in Grand Prairie

Favorite WF restaurant: McBride’s 

Family: Mom, Brother Sister, cousins by the dozens

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  I plan trips around museums and opera performances.  I want to go to St Petersburg to see the Hermitage

Favorite hobby:  Studying languages; I speak French, German, some Russian, and I’m trying to learn Mandarin Chinese

Age you started playing your instrument: 9

Favorite book: Les Miserables

Favorite movie: 2001, A Space Odyssey

Favorite onstage moment: When I was playing the Spoleto Festival, I participated in a Mass with an envoy from the Vatican.  “O Sacrum Convivium” was beautifully sung a capella, and I still have that close to my heart

Favorite piece of music:  Mozart’s “Marriage of Figero”



John Schertz was a violinist for the WFSO between the years of 1970-1982, where he played among Violinist- Henry Brahinsky and Conductor- William Boyer. He returned to his position in 2005 and has been playing with the WFSO since then under Dr. Candler Schaffer and now Fouad Fakhouri. Mr. Schertz is a graduate of the University of North Texas where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s in violin, and also holds an associates degree in Information Technology from El Centro College in Dallas. John has played with many symphonies in the area including: Fort Worth, Richardson, Sherman, Plano and Tyler. In 2017, John retired from the Dallas Independent School District, where he taught orchestra and violin for 17 years, to later work for BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. Along with performing with the WFSO, John performed around the North Texas area with the Lenny Dawson Orchestra and the Dallas Strolling Strings, where he was a member for 10 years.


Fun Facts about John: 

Favorite WF restaurant: McBrides Steakhouse, both the downtown and the Maplewood establishments
Describe your Family: Two lazy rescue dogs, two adult children, two grandkids (in Boulder Creek, California and Keller,TX), and my 95 year old mom in San Antonio
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Vienna, Austria
Favorite book: The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Favorite movie: The Lord of the Rings (all 3) or Brokeback Mountain.
Favorite onstage moment: There have been so many wonderful musical moments, so many wonderful soloists, but I think I enjoyed playing Toy Story along with the movie due to the great time had by audience and orchestra alike.
Favorite piece of music: Toss-up – Candide, Leonard Bernstein or ANY Mozart symphony — But I also have always loved the Beatles…!

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

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!



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

Written by Todd Giles.