The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is preparing its program for the renovated Carolina Civic Center’s second show, which will include a pre-concert orientation and a free open rehearsal on Thursday and a concert on Friday.
The program will include a Copland piece, featuring Raleigh native Ken Smith as the narrator, Flute Concerto No. 1 by Mozart, featuring flute soloist Jessica Dixon, and Symphony No. 8 by Antonin Dvorak.
The Fayetteville Orchestra is a regional group that employs semi-professional musicians, most of whom make all of their money from playing music, but not all of it from the Fayetteville Symphony.
Since the musicians are mostly professionals, they practice like a professional orchestra. The symphony meets for five rehearsals the week before giving a performance. The music has been given to the musicians by that point, and the orchestra works to interpret the work as a unit.
For this week’s performance, the symphony will make one of its rehearsals open to the public, for free, so that anyone, including students, can see an orchestra at work.
“There is a part of me that feels it’s wonderful,” said Fouad Fakhouri, conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony. “People get to see the shop but you are really getting to see the dirty shop.”
The special access is part of the teaching component that the orchestra will do in addition to its concert as part of the grant received by the Civic Center and the Orchestra to put on the concert. The pre-concert orientation is designed to give an informative glimpse of the performance by performing snippets of the compositions. The musicians will also answer questions.
“If an audience member knows a little bit about what they are going to hear, the experience is multiplied exponentially,” Fakhouri said.
The program includes music from three periods of music. The Mozart piece is the oldest and was written on commission for an amateur floutist by Mozart. Jessica Dixon, the principal floutist, will be the soloist in this piece. She plays for several other symphonies in the area.
The Copland piece was written on commission as a musical portrait of a great American statesman. Ken Smith, a Raleigh native and an actor and singer, will be performing the narration that goes along with the Copland piece. Copland included sections of Lincoln’s letters and speeches as part of the narration, which he included to make the music accessible to a larger audience.
Fakhouri said he chose the pieces to create a bouquet that contained something for everyone. He chose the Copland piece because of Black History Month and the fact that Sandhills Community College had requested a piece that fit “Lincoln Portrait’s” description for a performance at their venue. The Mozart piece was chosen to feature a soloist. But, Fakhouri said Dvorak is logical and he enjoys that composer’s music increasingly as he studies the music.
“The Dvorak No. 8 is a wonderful piece,” he said. “It’s a symphony but it’s very accessible and it’s easily understood.”
The performance expands the Fayetteville Symphony’s reach as a regional orchestra — something Fakhouri has stated as one of his goals.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of the celebration of reopening,” he said. “I’m hoping we will come back for more. It’s part of our vision for the future. We are trying to become a regional orchestra that serves the region.”
The orchestra includes several professors from Pembroke: Dr. Tim Altman, the principal trumpet in the orchestra who is director of bands at UNCP; Tracy Wiggins, a timpanist who is the director of Percussion studies at UNCP; Soo Goh who plays clarinet, and is also an adjunct clarinet instructor; and Joanna Hersey, who plays tuba and is assistant professor of low brass.
The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra performs at the Carolina Civic Center Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available in advance at the Civic Center, or by calling (910) 738-4339. They are also available starting an hour before the performance at the box office. The orchestra will also open its rehearsal to the public Thursday at 7 p.m. Admission is free. The pre-concert orientation is also free and will be Thursday at 4 p.m.