Program Notes – January 28, 2023

Guest Artist Bio’s

Nicholas Bardonnay, photographer & multimedia artistNicholas Bardonnay, Photographer & Multimedia artist

Nicholas Bardonnay is a photographer, multimedia artist, and the Creative Director & CEO of Westwater Arts.

Founded in 1973, Westwater Arts has created multimedia experiences for more than one million classical music lovers. To date, over 195 U.S. and international orchestras have programmed their groundbreaking art form: symphonic photochoreography. Westwater Arts’ visual repertoire is set to music by Dvořák, Mahler, Copland, Shostakovich and 22 other renowned composers.

Since joining Westwater Arts in 2009, Nicholas has photographed, produced, and performed over a dozen photochoreography pieces. Some recent projects have taken him to many of our beautiful national parks, Iceland, Mexico and the Czech Republic. His creative process begins with either a visual concept or a musical work, then he pairs one with the other. During concerts, Nicholas uses multiple digital projectors to fill a large panoramic screen with hundreds of tightly choreographed image transitions, which he live-cues from memory. He has worked on more than 120 concerts with orchestras in cities across the U.S. as well as Scotland, England, Singapore, Canada, Poland and Germany. When Nicholas is not traveling for concerts or photographing new “visual concertos,” you can usually find him on the road in his vintage Airstream or planning his next big bike adventure.

For this special concert with the WFSO, Nicholas is presenting three visual concertos: Mágico, Rodeo!, and a newly commissioned piece featuring the photography of Wichita Falls’s own, Frank Yeager.

Mágico is choreographed to Moncayo’s Huapango—his most beloved work. The piece celebrates the beautiful diversity, warmth and cultural richness of our neighbor to the south, Mexico—both in music and images.

Transporting us to a place both familiar, and yet, one-of-a-kind, is the new WFSO commission exploring the grandeur of Yellowstone. This experience combines the timeless Largo movement from Dvořák’s New World Symphony with Frank Yeager’s wonderful photography spanning his many years documenting the special landscapes, plants and animals of America’s first national park.

Finally, closing out the concert is Rodeo!, which is set to Copland’s synonymous work. The piece portrays the excitement of a lively small-town rodeo from behind the scenes, with a backdrop of sweeping western landscapes and centuries of ranching heritage in the American West.

Learn more about Nicholas and his collaborative art form at

Frank Yeager, PhotographerFrank Yeager, Photographer

The photos featured in Music in Pictures are but a small window into the gifted eye, well-honed skill and deft timing of photographer, Frank Yeager.

Frank Yeager has taken pictures most of his adult life. Early photos naturally centered around family activities and portraits. Inspired by his mother-in-law Elizabeth Prothro, a well-known local photographer, he began including flowers and fauna in his “hobby” portfolio.

In 2000, while in the mountains of Colorado, taking photos took on a whole new meaning. With an inherent eye for color, lighting and composition, Frank embraced the challenge of capturing the fascinating and stunningly beautiful surroundings he found. A hobby became a passion. He became totally immersed in capturing the moment. Through the lens of his camera — he makes time stand still. He prefers using a handheld camera sans tripod. His subjects, featured in five limited edition books, include ponderous bison, graceful fowl, swaying aspens, and majestic mountains.

A long-time resident of Wichita Falls, Frank counts among his blessings, being the husband of Kay Prothro Yeager, father of Kathryn Elizabeth Yeager and Linda Anne Yeager and grandfather of Andrew, Nick, Lara and Yeager.


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WFSO Press Release

For Immediate Release

SUBJECT: “Music In Pictures” concert with the WFSO
CONTACT: Alicia Deges, Executive Director

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra (WFSO) concert “Music in Pictures” has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Tickets remain valid for the rescheduled concert date.  Patrons who are unable to attend the new date have the option to donate their tickets or request a refund.

Ticket holders may contact the WFSO office at (940) 723-6202 or by emailing for more information.
Updates will be made available on our website and social media platforms, Instagram @wf_so, and Facebook @wfso

WFSO Press Release for February 26 Concert

For Immediate Release

DATE: February 23, 2022
SUBJECT: “Music In Pictures” concert with the WFSO
CONTACT: Alicia Deges, Executive Director
940-723-6202 or 940-704-1823

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra (WFSO) concert “Music in Pictures” scheduled for Saturday, February 26, 2022, has been canceled due to safety issues at Memorial Auditorium. The WFSO is working with the City of Wichita Falls to reschedule the concert when the facility is deemed safe for performers.
Ticket holders may contact the WFSO office at (940) 723-6202 or for more information.
More information will be made available at, Instagram @wf_so, and Facebook @wfso1

About the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra—The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra (WFSO) is known as a leading cultural force in the Texoma area for 74 years. Under the director of Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri, the WFSO performs 5 subscription concerts each season and brings music to over 2,000 students each year with educational programs and the Young People’s Concert.

City of Wichita Falls Press Release regarding Memorial Auditorium

Wichita Falls Memorial Auditorium

Wichita Falls, Texas- The City of Wichita Falls is addressing a situation with the ceiling above the stage at Memorial Auditorium.

Safety is the number one priority and the measures are being taken to address a problem with loose fire protection coating on structural steel beams above the stage. This is not a structural issue.
It is out of an abundance of caution that a Wichita Falls Symphony concert on February 26, 2022 be canceled at the Auditorium. Officials feel this is in the best interest of the safety of the performers. We regret any inconvenience this will cause to both the Symphony and its patrons and hope to have the issue fixed as soon as possible

Press Release

For Immediate Release

DATE: January 14, 2022

SUBJECT: A Classical Extravaganza Concert Update

CONTACT: Alicia Deges, Executive Director

940-723-6202 *

WICHITA FALLS, TX – Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and to ensure the health and safety of our audience, orchestra, staff and crew, the board of directors of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra has decided to POSTPONE the January 22, 2022 concert, A Classical Extravaganza. The rescheduled date will be announced soon.

Ticket holders do not need to take any action at this time. Tickets remain valid for the re-scheduled concert date. Patrons who are unable to attend the new date have the option to exchange their tickets for another concert, donate their tickets, or request a refund.

“The COVID pandemic has taught us how to be flexible and creative,” stated Executive Director, Alicia Deges. “We know our patrons understand that and they are appreciative of our efforts. We are grateful for their continued support and look forward to being back in the concert hall together soon.”

Questions can be emailed to

About the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra — The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra(WFSO) is known as a leading cultural force in the Texoma area. This is the WFSO’s 74th season. Under the leadership of Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri, the WFSO performs five subscription concerts each season, as well as brings music to over 2,000 students each year with Education programming and Young People’s Concert.

Pachelbel in the Time of Pandemic

by Todd Giles

As I get ready to dive into researching and writing the program notes for the WFSO’s 74th season this summer, I can’t help but pause and ruminate a bit on last year. It’s these thoughts I’d like to share with you, taking a few moments to look back on the 2020-21 season, as well as taking a gander to lays ahead in just a few short months.

The WFSO has weathered many rough patches throughout its long and rich history, but the COVID pandemic has been something entirely different. As we watched the numbers grow on the nightly news over the past year and learned about the economic and educational tolls the disease has had in our communities, one thing we seldom heard about is the financial toll COVID has had on non-profit arts organizations worldwide.

If there is a positive side to the last season’s challenges, principal timpanist Corey Robinson suggests that “the pandemic has caused many arts organizations to rethink their traditional approaches to performing arts. This has been a very positive move overall towards engaging audiences in different ways that will surely be employed in the post-pandemic resurgence of live events.” Indeed, the WFSO leadership was called upon to not only reconceive the 2020-2021 season, they also had to rethink the various ways in which they meet their outreach mission here in Texoma.

After cancelling the final concert of the 2019-2020 season the April before last, they also decided to delay the start of the 2020-21 season out of safety concerns. With the prospect of potentially having to jettison the entire season, the organization needed to do some quick and creative thinking about how to best continue supporting their seventy-five musicians. Thanks to the generous support of the Texoma Gives Musician’s Relief Fund, which raised over $19,000 with the help of two generous matches from the Perkins Prothro Foundation and an anonymous donor, the WFSO was able to supplement the incomes of three quarters of the orchestra’s musicians throughout the season.

Even with this assistance, though, many dedicated WFSO musicians have been without a steady income since the beginning of the pandemic. According to principal tubist Mark Finley, the pandemic has “devastated many musicians, not just because of a loss of income, but the loss of lifestyle. Musicians have spent their entire adult lives training and practicing to be performers, and without that, I’m not sure many of them know what to do with themselves.” Violinist Susan Younghans knew what she needed to do: “I have had to learn flexibility in my teaching platforms in order to maintain my private teaching income. The online lessons are somewhat effective for most students, but there is nothing like in-person instruction.” Likewise for violinist Tammy Sparks: “I have learned to teach my lessons by Skype, Zoom, and Google Meets. It’s not the same, but my students get to have lessons that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.”

The Symphony also needed to make major changes in the ways they maintain contact with their patrons and the thousands of area students they serve each year through their educational programming; they did so by going virtual and by going outside. The biggest logistical and creative task of all was recording the January, February and April concerts while following strict safety protocols. Videos of the three concerts, which included music by Beethoven, Mozart, and Emmanuel Séjourné, were professionally produced and made available at a discounted rate online. Throughout the season, the WFSO also offered several free pop-up concerts at venues such as Art and Stroll in downtown Wichita Falls, a “Jazz on the Lawn” concert in collaboration with Sheppard Air Force Base, and a small socially-distanced concert hosted by WFSO musician Barbara Kavanaugh titled “Candlelight Sonatas” in December 2020.

At this point, the plan is to return to normal programming next season, which kicks off with the “Texas Country Reporter” tour in November. This live concert celebrating the longest-running television show in history features Texas tunes, culture and history, as well as live narration by Bob and Kelli Phillips. While the season returns patrons back to both Memorial and Akin auditoriums, the concerts will continue to be recorded for those who aren’t quite ready to return to the live concert experience.

Next season’s Young People’s Concert will return to an in-person event, but will likewise be recorded to broaden the concert’s educational reach to more area school children. With the WFSO’s 75th anniversary coming up in the 2022-23 season, Maestro Fakhouri has decided to focus next season on some of the incredible talent within our local orchestral community, including flutist Pam Youngblood and harpist Jaymee Haefner playing the music of Mozart. The WFSO will also bring back previously scheduled pianist Alessio Bax, as well as perform an original work by Fouad Fakhouri himself.

As fun as researching and writing the 2021-2022 season’s program notes is going to be for me this summer, I approach the task with a renewed appreciation for everything the folks at the WFSO do for our community—not just the concerts, but also the day-to-day things they do to keep the organization viable, pertinent, and exciting. Believe me, it’s no easy task. Alicia, Jenny and the dedicated and tireless board of directors (and the Youth Symphony and the Symphony League) all deserve our support and thanks in whatever ways we can best give it. Thanks, guys; you’re all appreciated!

WFSO’s Cheerful Symmetry brings live audience back to Memorial Auditorium

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.

January Concert Update

For Immediate Publication

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

2021-2022 Single Admission Ticket Sales

The 2021-2022 season for the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra is underway with the first concert, “Texas Country Reporter: A Texas Tribute,” premiering on November 13 at 7:30pm in Memorial Auditorium. Single admission tickets for individual concerts are on sale now. Single admission tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling the WFSO office at 940-723-6202. Season tickets are still on sale for a discounted price by calling the office. In addition to the discount, season ticket holders can count on their confirmed seats year-to-year, optional reserved parking, and exclusive event invitations throughout the year.

Due to the current number of COVID-19 cases in Wichita County, the WFSO Board of Directors has decided to socially distance the audience seating for the November 13 concert. This distancing will still allow for parties to sit with each other, but the parties will be distanced from one another. There is a 50% maximum capacity for this event. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold on concert night. Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face masks for the duration of the event.

Corresponding with the November concert, the WFSO will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” with Bob and Kelli Phillips after the concert at 9:30pm at the Kemp Center. A silent auction will be held at this event to help support the WFSO’s return to normal programming. Tickets are $60 per person and are available now by calling the WFSO office.

The WFSO is looking forward to welcoming a live audience for the full season. For more information about upcoming concerts or to purchase tickets, please visit the website at If you have questions or would like to purchase season tickets, please call the administrative office at 940-723-6202.