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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

South Texas Gets A New Symphonic Orchestra

A brand new orchestra is being built from the ground up here in San Antonio. 

"The South Texas Symphonic Orchestra is a brand new full orchestra, made up of community members, retirees, teachers, volunteers who want to play music at a very high artistic level.  Their reward is playing for the love of music," Ronnie Sanders says.

As the founder and artistic director, Sanders has the background you'd expect for this kind of venture.

"I have a Master's Degree at the University of Houston, a Doctorate of Music Education at Boston University," he explains. 

In February he decided to commit to his idea of creating an orchestra, generating a web site and filing paperwork to become a non-profit entity. Then he put out a call for musicians and they have responded.

"As of yesterday we have 71 people who have decided 'I want to be a part of this orchestra.' Most of them have advanced degrees in music," he says.

Sanders has auditioned many of those players. As to how many players he's looking for, he puts it this way:

"I'd love it if they had 50 to 60. The auditions absolutely blew me away. Percussionists, String players who are excited about playing again," he says.

To pull off an all-volunteer orchestra that stays in the black, he has to keep expenses down. A local high school is lending him a hand.

"Thomas Jefferson High School agreed to help us, use their rehearsal facilities, and their performing arts auditorium," Sanders says.

Their first concert will be in October at Jefferson High School.

"I have programmed an all-classic concert. Mozart's First Symphony. Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Beethoven's Egmont Overture, and Schubert wrote an opera called Fierabras. And we're going to play a part of that as well," he explains.

Sanders says his rewards won't be financial ones.

"To me seeing those faces light up at auditions, that they're playing again. Perhaps not for years, since they've been in college. That to me is one of the purposes of the orchestra," he says.

Auditions will wrap and rehearsals will begin soon.  

Find more on the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra here

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii