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Half-Century Of Music Highlighted In Waco Symphony Orchestra Season

Sept. 26, 2011

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Selecting the pieces that the Waco Symphony Orchestra would play in its upcoming season was not a typical process for Stephen Heyde. The process of building a season is something he's done now twenty-five times. Tchaikovsky's Symphony Numer Four is one of those selections, and it's been played many times before by the Waco Symphony-that's why he chose it and similar pieces again this year.

Fifty years in Waco. For a small symphony without a funding base that those in larger cities can tap into, that's no small feat. Heyde and his predecessor, Dean Daniel Sternberg, both gave twenty-five years of their lives conducting in Waco, partnering with others to shepherd the organization to this point in time from its beginning in 1962. Heyde explains that perhaps his greatest point of pride are the roots that he and Dean Sternberg set in this community.

He of course remembers many of the pieces the orchestra has played over the years. He chose them. But thankfully, the record-keeping prior to his arrival was impeccable. So he was able to go back a half-century, and see not just what was popular while he was the conductor, but what audiences enjoyed long before he arrived.

Thousands of pieces were wittled down to a few that best represented the orchestra's past. And believe it or not, Heyde can pinpoint the most popular and well-received piece in the orchestra's history.

Pines of Rome will be performed in the spring. In the interim, return musicians like Joshua Bell, Andre Watts, and Joshua Bell will perform again with the symphony. Big name musicians are feathers in the orchestra's cap, but for Heyde it's the team effort locally that has been even more meaningful.

The season begins tomorrow night at Waco Hall, as violinist Joshua Bell joins the symphony. We'll hear from Bell tomorrow as we continue to focus on the Waco Symphony Orchestra. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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