We introduce music to the public with these various programs and events:
1. Pre-Concert Presentations
We offer insights into music and musicians with our “Opening Notes” 45 minutes prior to each subscription concert in the Turner Studio Theater of the Clark State Performing Arts Center. Pre-concert talks before MasterWorks programs cover aspects of the music on the program, and are presented by annual favorites Trudy Faber, Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson, composers whose works are being performed, and others. Prior to NightLights concerts, orchestra members discuss topics regarding the orchestra, and offer insights into performing on their specific instruments.
2. Concerts for Young People
Every year, 1,500 area students attend an SSO concert at the Kuss Auditorium of the Clark State Performing Arts Center. The students are treated to an orchestral concert experience, the goal of which is to excite them about symphonic music, and perhaps inspire them to want to learn to play a musical instrument. We continue to hear from adults of all ages who were inspired by these concerts as children. It is a memorable experience and still a highlight of their lives even decades after the event.
Concerts for Young People Sponsors: Ruth B. and Thomas F. Mackey Charitable Trust, Dennis and Margaret Roark, Link-Hellmuth, Security National Bank
3. Students at the Symphony
This special program is made available through generous donations from Lawrence Landess and Mark Grimes. During each concert season, 20 students from Perrin Woods and Lincoln Elementary schools attend each concert with Music Teacher and Choir Director Sharon Safley. This program brings young people to the concert hall and enables them to broaden their appreciation of all types of music. Special activities include meeting guest artists and SSO musicians, and a backstage tour.
Students at the Symphony: Sponsored by Mark Grimes and the Sara and Lawrence Landess Family
4. Instrument Petting Zoos, Clark State Children’s Hour, and More
The SSO participates in numerous community events, featuring various performing groups and providing our much-sought-after “Instrumentl Petting Zoo,” which enables children (and adults too!) to try out different musical instruments with the assistance of SSO musicians. We also present a program every year for the Clark State Children’s Hour, featuring a Youth Symphony Ensemble, and the chance for children to try out different instruments. These events offer potential young musicians the opportunity to feel what it is like to touch, hold, and play an instrument. No one is too young or too old to experience the joy of making a sound on a musical instrument!
5. Partnerships with Local Organizations
The SSO partners with many local groups and organizations to bring music and education programs to existing events. Each year, the National Trail Parks and Recreation District holds a Performing Arts Camp in August. For this event, we bring in an instrument petting zoo, demonstrations by professional SSO musicians, a class taught by Children’s Chorus conductor Jennifer Wightman, and a performance at the camp’s concert. We also participate in Project Scare-a-Crow, Camp Phoenix, and many more events, bringing student ensembles and professional musicians to perform and entertain Springfield!