It can be easy to forget just how extraordinary it is.
Most towns of Valdosta’s size do not have a symphony orchestra but our town does.
For more than two decades, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra has been bringing the music and worlds of Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms and numerous other composers to the ears and worlds of South Georgia listeners.
This weekend, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra does it again ... and during a pandemic.
Like so many other arts organizations, the orchestra canceled its performance schedule last spring. By fall, the orchestra returned, playing live concerts in Whitehead Auditorium with limited seating and offering a recording of the concert to audiences at home.
The Feb. 13 concert marks the orchestra's third pandemic performance. The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb.13, Whitehead Auditorium, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Brookwood and Oak.
We sometimes take having a hometown symphony orchestra for granted. The Symphony Guild is one group that does not take the VSO for granted. The Guild works diligently to support the orchestra.
In non-pandemic times, the orchestra hosts a series of youth concerts introducing classical music and instruments to hundreds of area children and youth for free, participates in Tunes for Tots which gives small children a hands-on introduction to musical instruments, performs Tchaikovsky’s beloved score with the long-running community production of “The Nutcracker” at Christmas.
Its membership represents musicians who are VSU faculty and students, local musicians and professional musicians from the surrounding area.
The Valdosta Symphony has won the first-place honor of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance.
All under the leadership of Howard Hsu, VSO music director and conductor.
The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra is a blessing which most towns our size and many much larger cannot boast.
And now the orrchestra finds a way in the age of the pandemic.
We sing its praises.