Houston Symphony bringing free community concerts to area schools
By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
The Summer Community Concert Series, recently held at Dulles High School’s Rodgers Auditorium, featured dynamic musical performances for the entire family. The symphony presented a program of Epic Tales in Music, featuring selections from Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
If you missed the free concert at Dulles High School, don’t worry. The Symphony plans on reaching everyone around the community. Performances are scheduled around the area through July including tours at Alief High School, Dobie High and Cypress Springs High School.
The series, which started in 1986, concentrates on relating the music to the audience, by keeping it upbeat and cross generational. Baritone Blas Canedo Gonzalez and soprano (and Port Arthur native) Gwendolyn Alfred achieved a memorable connection with the audience with their performances of the Barber of Seville and Madame Butterfly.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the classics, you listened to an entertaining crash course before each piece from the Houston Symphony’s Associate Conductor Robert Franz. He has been with the program for more than nine seasons and helped put the Community Concerts program together. Bridging the gap of classical music and keeping it fun and entertaining to a youthful audience can be a challenge, but Franz makes it look easy. Even grandparents and parents, familiar with the music and the usual story lines, find the new approach to introducing classical music appealing as well.
Audiences love it. And so does Franz.
“I love conducting, bringing performances out to the community, and making it user friendly and fun. And besides, it’s just great music,” Franz said.
Come 45 minutes early so the kids can play musical instruments in the “Instrument Petting Zoo”. You have to see it (hear it) to believe it. Additional dates for the performances are available at www.houstonsymphony.org.