“We are really working to redefine what it means to be a regional community orchestra. We are trying to integrate ourselves completely into the community,” said Michael Alexander, conductor and music director of GSO.
Rather than use its yearly budget solely toward a limited number of concerts, GSO offers avenues for people in the community to make music.
“GSO is unusual as to the people making music with the orchestra. We have close to 1,000 people who make music with us as part of the organization,” Alexander said.
Included in its $500,000 budget is a 400-person youth orchestra program that involves fourth grade to high school students, a professional as well as youth jazz ensemble, youth chorus and adult chorus.
“We have all these things that are not common for an organization with a $500,000 budget,” he said.
GSO contributes to quality of life in Cobb County.
“It’s incumbent on the arts groups to create programming and programs that make people feel that what we are doing is essential to having a vibrant place to live,” Alexander said.
In addition to the variety of programs, GSO performs an engaging and creative repertoire to draw in the audience and make local ties. This year, the GSO opened its season at Zion Baptist Church (off the Marietta Square) with whom they won a Creating Community Award for their collaboration. The concert showcased three world premiere pieces written by two local composers and one from Massachusetts.
The concert included the premiere of “Ogeechee,” inspired by the Ogeechee River in Savannah, by Atlanta composer Nicole Randall Chamberlain. GSO associate conductor’s “Orchestral Suite” also premiered along with “Extreme Spirituals” by Erik Lindgram. “Extreme Spirituals” featured internationally known bass baritone Oral Moses who is professor of voice and music literature at Kennesaw State University.
“If we’re doing this on the budget we have, imagine if we had a budget twice this size what we would accomplish,” Alexander said.
“The arts a question of how good do you want your community to be, how many opportunities do you want, how engaged do you want people in conversation and thinking about these kind of things. It’s more and more relevant as we move into the 21st century, not less, because we (GSO) are remarkably different. We are somewhat disruptive and that’s a good thing. We create conversation. We create dialogue. We get people to come together. That’s a pretty important thing to do,” Alexander said.
Join the GSO on Dec. 8 at 3p.m. or 8 p.m. for their Holiday Pops performance at the Murray Arts Center at Mt. Paran Christian School located at 2250 Stilesboro Road NW in Kennesaw. The concert showcases Hollywood with selections from seasonal films including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Polar Express,” “Home Alone,” and, of course, “Die Hard.” Traditional favorites are included as well such as “Sleigh Ride.” GSO Chorus and GYSO Chorus for the annual carol sing-along.
Other upcoming GSO performances include Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. with Indigo Girls at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and March 9 at 8 p.m. at the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performing Arts Center at KSU performing Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony #1” (“Titan”) and Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service.”
To learn more and for tickets visit www.georgia
symphony.org. Indigo Girls tickets at www.ticket