SOTM concert praises perseverance

Jessica Fischer • Sep 27, 2011 at 4:02 AM

Symphony of the Mountains will celebrate the spirit of hard work and determination during its fifth annual Family and School Concert Series on Oct. 2 and 3 at Grundy High School, Grundy, Va. The public concert will begin at 4 p.m., Oct. 2 in the school’s auditorium. Encore performances will be held for area school children on Oct. 3. This year’s performances tell the story of the late Mary B. Martin, who was born into a poor farming family in rural Northeast Tennessee. When Martin told her parents she wanted to attend college, they told her she needed to work and not worry about a college education. During the concerts, audiences will learn that through hard work and perseverance, Martin earned the college degree she dreamed of and became a wealthy and respected member of the community. “The goal is to show the audience, especially the children, that if you believe in yourself, work hard and have a positive influence on all the people around you, you can do anything you set out to do,” said SOTM Conductor Cornelia Laemmli Orth. The Family and School Concert Series is designed to be highly interactive and bring the audience into the performance. Prior to the concert, children are encouraged to attend the Instrument Building Workshop that allows them the opportunity to build their own instruments from everyday items. The workshop begins at 3 p.m. Performing with the Symphony of the Mountains will be the Mountain Mission School Choir, Buchanan County All-County Band and PICK (Playing Instruments Changes Kids). After the concert, audience members are invited to attend the Instrument Petting Zoo, where they will have the opportunity to see and feel the symphony members’ instruments up close. Tickets for the public performance are $10 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony box office at (423) 392-8423 or visiting the website at www.Sym phonyOfTheMountains.org . Tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the event. Mary B. Martin’s husband, James C. Martin of Johnson City, recently donated $100,000 to Symphony of the Mountains, celebrating its 65th anniversary season. Martin’s donation will be used in part to support the symphony’s Mary B. Martin Family and School concerts as well as the Mary B. Martin Blast of Brass concert, slated for Jan. 22 at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn. “Our family concerts are a big, big deal for us,” Orth said. “We first perform a concert open to the public on Sunday afternoon, then two performances Monday morning for school kids to be bussed in. We have an average of about 2,000 kids who come to these concerts. The concerts are designed in close collaboration with the schools so that we can help them meet their goals. We are sending our teachers guides, we are going to visit the schools prior to these concerts. ... Prior to the concerts we have instrument building workshops where the kids are doing little instruments that they can use during the concert and afterwards, a petting zoo where they get to try out all the different instruments with the help of our musicians. “This year’s concert is dedicated to Mary. We are going to tell her life story through music, hoping that her story can be an inspiration to all of these kids, showing that a person who comes from a poor little farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere, through hard work, will power, optimism and a we-can-do-this attitude can become a very well respected person of our whole region. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share this story with the kids.”Courtesy of Symphony of the Mountains

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