Albany Symphony marks half a century -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany Symphony marks half a century


The Albany Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary season with a black-tie optional Golden Gala dinner dance tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Honorees will be past association presidents, past guild presidents and Legacy Society members (substantial contributors in 2011).

Tickets are $75 per person and $150 per couple.  A cash bar and valet parking at the roundabout by the former Bank of America parking lot will be available.  

Music will be provided by the Southern Art Music Ensemble, under the music direction of Michael Decuir, director of Albany State University's award winning Jazz and Marching Bands.  Their quartet will feature Decuir, saxophone and flute, and Alfred Salvant, drums, both from New Orleans; George Michael Ryce, keyboard, from St. Louis; and George Rodgers, bass, from New York, NY.  They play jazz, blues and popular standards such as "Mr. Magic" by Grover Washington Jr., "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited, "Overjoyed" by Stevie Wonder and "Killer Joe" by Bennie Golsen.  They also perform original pieces by songwriter Ryce.

Co-chairmen are Dee Matthews and past ASA presidents Diane Cunningham (2002-2007) and Dr. Holland Wright (2010-2012).  Master of ceremonies   will be Bobby Powell.  Committee members are the ASA's Friends of Note Engaged (FONE) volunteer group: Ripley Bell, Susan Greene, Banks Haley, Sylvia Berry (ASA board members), Julie Sellers, Carolyn Corriere, Marilyn Ray, Lorraine Wessels, Patty Weiss and Joann Pope.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $10 each and three for $20.  Prizes include a $200 gift certificate from Rosemary West Photography, a $150 gift certificate from Henry Campbell's Steak House, a fish cooker from Modern Gas and a barbecue grill from Buffalo Rock.

Sponsorship opportunities, beginning at $500, are still available.

"I am proud of the great strides we have made in the past fifty consecutive years.  This gala will give all of us –musicians, board members and staff of the symphony – a chance to thank our previous leaders and legacy members who support our mission of music and education.  We honor their vital roles in the growth and success of the orchestra," commented ASA President Jim Bullion.

"The Albany Symphony's Golden Gala is a perfect opportunity for the community to celebrate and reflect upon the orchestra's Fiftieth Anniversary.   I encourage everyone to come and celebrate on Friday evening and then attend "Beethoven and Blue Jeans" on Saturday evening," said Dr. Claire Fox Hillard, conductor and music director.

The orchestra will feature distinguished guest pianist Awadagin Pratt in concert on Nov. 16 at 7:30 pm in the Albany Municipal Auditorium.   The symphony will be dressed in jeans and attendees are encouraged to don denim as well.


The Albany Symphony Orchestra was organized as the Albany Symphonette in 1964 by a group of individuals who enjoyed playing good music and foresaw the potential for an orchestra in Albany.  Conducted by E. L. Ziegler, the first concert was held on May 18, 1965 in the gym of Porterfield Memorial United Methodist Church.  In 1967, Dr. Edward A. Tarratus, Arts Division Chairman at Albany Junior College (now Darton State College), became the orchestra's second conductor.


During the 1967-1968 season, under Tarratus' leadership with the help of the Junior League of Albany, the Albany Symphony Association was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.  Charles DeLaney, professor of music at Florida State Music, was appointed Music Director and Conductor beginning with the 1979-1980 season for nine years.


In 1987, in a bold step toward continuing the development of a professional symphony orchestra, the ASA voted to employ Hillard as resident music director and conductor.   The ASO is a fully professional per service orchestra serving the southwest Georgia regional with classical, pops, educational and special concerts.  The symphony draws professional performers and artists from a 100-mile radius and offers these artists many opportunities to perform.  Recognized for its innovative audience developmental efforts and diverse programming, the orchestra has received the League of American Orchestras and America Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) awards on multiple occasions.

For sponsorships, tickets and more information, call the symphony office at 229-430-8933 or go online at .    

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