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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

South Texas Symphonic Orchestra Makes Its Debut

When a local symphony takes the stage on Sunday, it will be for the first time ever.  Artistic Director Ronnie Sanders says this orchestra has just been created over the past few months.

"The South Texas Symphonic Orchestra is an all-volunteer orchestra, made up of trained musicians who want to play just for the love of music," he says.

As you might expect, there's some symbolism behind Sander's choice of music for the first concert.

"The concert starts off with Mozart's First Symphony. There's an innocence about it. It He wrote it when he was 8 years old. And I thought it would be appropriate for our first concert. Our first try, our first shot."

Of course, there's much more to the concert.

"After the Mozart we're going to perform Beethoven's Egmont Overture, which is a favorite amongst conductors and orchestras and audiences alike. The we move to the Schubert Fierrabras Overture. And then we finish with Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, which is a little bit of a prank when you dig deep into its history."

Sanders says the story goes like this: a large university offered Brahms an honorary doctorate degree.

"And Brahms wrote a little postcard and said 'thank you so much.' And the university wrote him back and said 'n-n-n-n-no-no. You've gotta do more than that to get this honorary doctorate degree. We would love for you to compose a dignified piece of music for our graduation ceremonies.'"

What he composed was good, but somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Despite the humorous nature of its origins, it has persisted. Fast-forward 150 years, now the Symphonic Orchestra's first public performance will be in a landmark location.

"Jefferson High School is a National Historic Landmark. If you walk into Jefferson's auditorium you will be reminded of what the Majestic looks like. It's got 2100 some-odd seats. It's got three tiers, it is a grand auditorium."

And perhaps never more grand than Sunday afternoon at 3PM for the debut performance of the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra.

Find more on the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra here

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