Georgia Magazine - August 2020 - 22

PAUL LEAVY

AUGUSTA SYMPHONY

Music Director Dirk Meyer conducts the Augusta Symphony at a
recent performance.

The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra's members include Valdosta State
University (VSU) faculty, other professionals and VSU students.

LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, LaGrange.

Community Chords offers free music therapy for groups of
adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, veterans
outreach through its VA Guitar Ensemble and chamber groups
that provide public performances, school programs and
children's concerts.
"Ticket revenue is only 30 percent of our income. We
operate a hefty annual fund and cultivate strong corporate and
foundational support. Owning and operating our own venue
has been a great boost," Murray says. "We raised $23 million
through the generosity of corporate, private and government
entities to restore the Miller, which has helped us maintain and
initiate community programs to benefit everyone in the area."

lagrangesymphony.org
Since its inaugural concert in 1990, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra has relied on strong civic and public support.
"The people of LaGrange and Troup County have provided the impetus to have a professional orchestra, and they've
worked hard to ensure our future," Executive Director Raylene
Carter says. As a result, the symphony offers regular subscription concerts along with programming to engage young
audiences, such as string ensembles for students and children's
concerts.
Between 55 and 70 musicians perform for the five-concert
subscription series. Additional concerts bring elementary
school students to the Callaway Auditorium on the campus
of LaGrange College, the orchestra's performance venue. Its
Musicians in School program provides smaller ensembles for
classroom performances and career days.
"Reaching children and youth in their early years has long
been a key to sustaining the arts," Carter says. "Youngsters who
have been exposed to music through live events are much more
likely to become lifetime patrons of the arts. It's the arts that
bring a high quality of life to a community. And that quality
of life helps attract new business and helps an area grow
and thrive."

Augusta Symphony, Augusta. augustasymphony.com
The historic Miller Theater in downtown Augusta is the
official home of the Augusta Symphony, which restored and
now manages the facility. Founded in 1954, the orchestra
presents more than a dozen concerts each season that include
classical music and pops performances and family concerts,
reaching 20,000 people annually.
"In addition to our season concerts, our Community
Chords outreach offers multiple innovative ways to connect
people from all walks of life beyond the concert hall," says
Anne Catherine Murray, executive director of the organization.
"These programs truly reach people who might not otherwise
participate in music and cultural activities."

22

Georgia Magazine

August 2020

Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Valdosta.
valdostasymphony.org
The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, which is celebrating
its 31st season, is the orchestra-in-residence at Valdosta State
University. Both Executive Director Doug Farwell and Conductor Howard Hsu serve on the faculty at Valdosta State, and some
of the orchestra members are faculty and students there.
"About 40 percent of our players are professional players
from four states," says Farwell, head of the university's music
department. "In addition to providing work for our musicians,
[the symphony] gives our students professional performance
experience."
In addition to its season subscription series with international guest artists, the orchestra presents a dozen concerts at
area schools and facilities in South Georgia and other nearby
towns in North Florida. It also sponsors a youth orchestra for
grades four through 12 and the South Georgia String Project to
train players of stringed instruments.
"We function much like a teaching hospital for our music
students, who get to rehearse and perform next to their instructors and other professional musicians," Farwell says. "So not
only do we provide excellent opportunities for our students and
area players, [but also] we are very much an important part of
the cultural makeup of our community and of South Georgia."
Pamela A. Keene is a freelance writer from Flowery Branch.


http://www.lagrangesymphony.org http://www.valdostasymphony.org http://www.augustasymphony.com

Georgia Magazine - August 2020

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