VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra spotlights its own formidable talents with the special concert “First Chair Encores” this weekend.

While many of the Valdosta Symphony’s principal musicians are scheduled to be featured, this concert places an emphasis on the performances of three musicians whose names and talents should be familiar to regular orchestra patrons.

“The three solo selections are shorter works which brilliantly display the tonal character and technical prowess of the musicians,” notes James Plondke, the VSO’s conductor and music director.

• Susan Eischeid, the VSO principal oboe and a Valdosta State University music professor, performs Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini’s “Concerto in E-flat for Oboe and Orchestra,” which is “as much an ‘aria’ for oboe as a ‘concerto’ for orchestra,” Plondke notes.

Eischeid has been VSO’s principal oboe for a dozen years, and she regularly performs summers with the Eastern Music Festival, Greensboro, N.C. She is a scholar of music from the Holocaust, having researched numerous materials and recorded the heartbreaking, haunted and beautiful CD “Mystic Chords of Genocide: Music of the Holocaust.” On a much lighter note, Eischeid was also instrumental in organizing the recent P.D.Q. Bach music-parody concert at VSU.

• Doug Farwell, the VSO’s principal trombone and the orchestra’s executive director, performs “Allegro giocoso,” a movement from American composer Eric Ewazen’s “Concerto for Trombone,” an “energetic, ‘perpetual motion’ rondo which displays the facility and energy of the trombone,” Plondke notes.

Farwell is also VSU Music’s professor of trombone and the College of the Arts’ assistant dean. With the Continental Trombone Quarter, which he co-founded, Farwell has toured throughout the United States and Latin America. He has also made may local performances with the VSO, in recitals, and served as musical director for this past season of the Peach State Summer Theatre at VSU.

• Donovan Stokes has been with the VSO on double bass for several years. Stokes is also a composer and will present the premiere of his “Lament for the Women of the Magdalen Laundries for the Double Bass and Orchestra,” which Plondke describes as an “homage to women incarcerated in the Magdalen Asylums of Ireland during the 19th and early 20th centuries.” Many of these women did not survive. Stokes’ “Lament” is “a melodic, poignant reflection on the suffering of the women.”

In addition to being the VSO’s principal bassist, he teaches double bass and composition with VSU Music. He has also performed recitals in San Francisco, Seattle and Virginia. In the past, he has directed student double-bass concerts throughout Valdosta.

The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra is also scheduled to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien,” or “Italian Caprice,” from 1880, which “fits well” into the program, Plondke notes. “Tchaikovsky introduces many of the tunes in solo-instrument pairings, for example, two solo oboes, two solo flutes, two solo cornets, and others.”

The VSO performs Ravel’s 1928 “Bolero” known for the heat of its repetitive Spanish flamenco style. Though, for a generation, this tune may be best remembered from the comic seduction scene involving Bo Derek and Dudley Moore in the movie “10,” Ravel composed “Bolero” as “a type of study, in an industrial age, to see if music could reflect the repetitive character of a machine,” Plondke notes.

“Bolero” also keeps with the concert’s “First Chair” theme with appearances by the VSO’s Paul Campiglia, snare drum; Elizabeth Goode, flute; Jeffrey Olson, clarinet and piccolo clarinet; Scott Pool, bassoon; Susan Eischeid, oboe d’amore; Kenneth Kirk, trumpet; Daniel Williams, tenor saxophone; Joren Cain, soprano saxophone; Kristen Johns, horn; Doug Farwell, trombone.

This show is one of the VSO’s special concerts and not one of its Subscription Series performances.


The Valdosta Symphony

Orchestra performs ‘First Chair Encores.’

When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Whitehead

Auditorium, first floor, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood.

Ticket: $20.

More information,

reservations: Call VSU

College of the Arts

Outreach, 333-2150.

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