UNA Pressroom

Shoals Symphony Finishes Fantastic Season

Apr. 28, 2016

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Carole Maynard, UNA Department of Music

FLORENCE, Ala. - On Sunday, May 8, 2016, at 3p.m., in Norton Auditorium, the Shoals Symphony at UNA will present the finale to what has been an outstanding season.

"The 2015-2016 season has been overwhelmingly positive," said Dr. Daniel Stevens, music director and conductor for the symphony. "With more than 4,200 audience members, the Shoals Symphony at UNA has nearly doubled ticket sales from prior seasons."

And Stevens feels the finale concert "Americana Spring" is a fitting way to end the highly successful season.

"There is no better way to complete the season than by celebrating the heritage of American composers," he said. "American composers shifted the 'western' classical tradition of European masterworks toward a new, original soundtrack of early jazz and blues."

In keeping with the American composer theme, one of UNA's student composers, Jeremy Smith, will be featured on the program. Smith won the 2016 UNA Solo Artist Competition with his original composition "The Fourth Wall."

Each season, UNA students audition for the competition in specialties ranging from piano to voice, percussion to flute, violin to composition. Eight finalists are chosen by UNA faculty to represent their divisions in a grand recital. From these finalists, three external judges choose the winner. Smith is the first composition student to win the competition.

"This is a great opportunity for me, as a composer, and for the symphony," said Smith, who studies composition and percussion at UNA. "This is the first time the symphony will premiere a piece written by a student, so this is an historic event. I think people in the area will enjoy hearing the piece and knowing that classical music isn't only alive and well, but Florence has its own composer!"

Stevens is looking forward to performing the piece for the audience and having Smith come to the stage and explain the inspiration behind the piece.

"It is rare to see a composer at work," said Stevens, "and even more unique to hear the influences faced in the construction of the piece."

The program will also feature "Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland, "Serenata" by Leroy Anderson and First Essay for Orchestra, Op. 12, by Samuel Barber.

Even though the 2015-2016 is coming to an end, Stevens is looking forward to the 2016-2017 season.

"The board, musical directors and musicians are excited about the 2016-2017 season," he said. "We want to dream big again! We want to bring Disney back for another energizing performance; we dream of a unique crossover concert with bluegrass artists; we want to perform two major classical masterwork symphonies; and we want to bring a number of mainstream artists to the Shoals."

Achieving these dreams takes a lot of work, but Stevens knows it can happen.

"The Shoals Symphony at UNA is an orchestra that belongs to the entire Shoals area," Stevens said. "We embrace what is truly unique about the incredible heritage of music in the Shoals. In the next few weeks, our board will be out in the community asking business leaders and individuals alike to partner with us-the vision is there for every concert to be a 'sell-out' experience."

Admission for "Americana Spring" is $15-$22 per adult. Tickets are available at shoalssymphony.una.edu or at the Lindsey Theatre Box Office, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets for students and children (12 and under) are available at the door for $5.

For more information, visit shoalssymphony.una.edu or call (256)765-5122.