Please go to our website to learn about recent developments in our contract negotiations.
After 36 seasons, Principal Trombonist Ron Wilson retires A Tribute by Trombonist Mike Hayes
It has been my pleasure to perform in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra with Ronnie Wilson for 34 seasons. In fact, I have never known the orchestra without him. From my first day in the orchestra in 1982, Ronnie has been my Principal and my friend. We have shared some of the FWSO's finest, proudest moments together. The concert with Luciano Pavarotti, the opening of Concerts in the Gardens, Bass Hall’s grand opening, the arrival of Miguel Harth-Bedoya as Music Director, the trip to Carnegie Hall in 2008, and the FWSO 100th anniversary come immediately to mind.
Ronnie also enjoyed a very lucrative freelance career. He was the first call trombonist for brass quintet gigs and church services, and he substituted with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for decades. I appreciated Ronnie’s dedication to his work; he was always prepared and arrived an hour early for every service. No matter what the performance venue (an elementary school, Bass Hall, or run-out to a nearby community), I would always look for Ronnie’s car. He was always the first person to arrive and if I saw his car, I knew I was in the right place. I’m sure that I will still look for Ronnie’s car even though I know he won’t be there.
REST, SLEEP IN, and RELAX, Ronnie Wilson! Enjoy retirement and come to some FWSO concerts. You certainly have earned it!
Pictured above are Ron Wilson, left, and Mike Hayes.
Why The Arts? By Dennis Bubert, Trombonist
Why the arts? Or, more specifically, given all of the ink spilled over our ongoing contract negotiations, why do the arts matter, here, now, in Fort Worth, Texas?
After all, the arts are expensive, unwieldy to manage, and unlike the whimsies of popular culture, demand discernment and aesthetic engagement from the audience. We’re repeatedly told that audiences for symphonic music are disappearing, there’s an insurmountable competition from other entertainments, and that our increasingly visual society is staying home from the concert hall.
As someone who has practiced the art of orchestral playing as a livelihood for close to four decades, I can attest that none of these claims are new, and some of them simply may not be true.
In some ways, the state of the arts has never been stronger. This February, some 28,000 Texas music students and educators convened in San Antonio for the Texas Music Educators Association’s annual conference. In the coming weeks, several thousands of those students will audition for entrance into music programs at Texas colleges and universities, where the arts are alive and well, if not thriving. On the campus where I teach, some two thousand of the 35,000 students enrolled are pursuing degrees in the fine arts. Often despite their parents’ wishes, their friends’ advice, economic realities, and all common sense, these young people are investing their time, money, and lives in the pursuit of communicating the human condition through their individual disciplines. Whether they express themselves through sound, movement, letters, the dramatic portrayal of human emotion or the visual arrangement of line, color and spatial weight, they are committing their efforts and resources to immersing themselves in the interpretation of what it truly means to be human, to think and to feel. In so doing, their awareness becomes sensitized to subtleties, to nuance, and to the ambiguity of life. They learn to see life in subtly different shades of grays rather than the black and whites the absolutists of this world propose as the only possible choices. Through the travails of their education, they see life as a process, an opportunity for growth, awareness and acceptance.
Ultimately, they gradually come to believe that learning is a process that is never completed, and that their own growth is dependent on their continued pursuit of their art, whatever their endeavor. How could I hope to surround myself with better people?
And it’s not just the performers and practitioners who hear the siren call of a personal muse. I’ve met hundreds of our FWSO patrons in recent years, and their stories have been a remarkable accounting of how much the orchestra means to them, and the extraordinary degree to which symphonic music matters in their lives.I met a couple that have been season ticket holders since 1981, and during that time have not missed a single subscription concert.
Another couple, which described themselves as “faithful Fort Worth Symphony concert goers,” routinely drive from their home in Kansas City to attend concerts.
And perhaps my favorite encounter: a woman who had been a life long season ticket holder to the Boston Symphony before her move to Fort Worth several years ago told me that she was worried about what kind of offerings she might find on the classical music front upon her arrival in Texas, a concern shared aloud by her friends and family in Boston. “Now,” she told me, “I can’t wait for them to visit me so that I can take them to hear my orchestra!”
These remarks, and the hundreds heard by my colleagues during our exchanges with FWSO patrons, as well as countless supportive letters,
e-mails, and Facebook postings, have been not only a much needed boost for the orchestra, but a real dose of a reality that is all too often ignored, refuted, or otherwise denied. And that is this: what we do matters, it matters to a great many people, and it apparently matters a great deal to them.
That the arts in general have always struggled with funding is old news; the current message seems to be that there is a new reality in which the arts have declining value and perhaps less validity, and that as musicians we are not only somehow to blame, but must be first in line to pay the price for what some clearly want us to see as the inevitable decline and subsequent failure of the American symphony orchestra.
Don’t believe it. And don’t try to sell that idea to the thousands of patrons who have expressed their support for the orchestra over the past several months, or those who filled Bass Hall last week to hear Joshua Bell at the Symphony’s gala. Or the 40,000 school children we play for each season, or their teachers, or the couple who drive from Kansas City to hear concerts, or the woman from Boston who has found a new orchestra of which to be a proud patron.
I know that the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will, in the coming months, continue to do that to which they have given their lives and dedicated their careers: bring great scores to life, and create transcendent moments for our audiences, who both appreciate and need those experiences in their own lives.
Join Us in the Fight Against Muscular Dystrophy
Meet Sterling Procter, horn player with the FWSO for 35 years. A true Renaissance man, Sterling was a guitar player with the 1:00 Lab Band at the University of North Texas. He renovated homes, and was a photographer. But, perhaps his greatest accomplishments are his hymn arrangements and brass fanfares, written for and played by church orchestras all over DFW and across the country. In fact, a number of his arrangements were featured at the memorial service for the esteemed Van Cliburn.
Sterling began arranging hymns in the late 1970’s, so his brass quintet could play in local churches. As demand increased, Sterling started contracting local musicians to play throughout the metroplex. Over the past three decades, churches from Fort Worth to Rockwall have hired his musicians for weekly and special services. Sterling’s goal, which he has achieved, was to create an environment where good musicians are essential to the worship experience.
In 2009, Sterling was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis, a rare form of muscular dystrophy (MD). Its cause is unknown and at present, has no cure. Sterling retired from the FWSO in 2013, but still frequently comes to hear FWSO performances and has continued arranging music and contracting musicians.
On February 29th, a number of FWSO musicians volunteered to be a part of “Leap to a Cure,” a concert honoring Sterling’s contribution to church music in north Texas. Park Cities Presbyterian Church was filled with folks wanting to hear Sterling’s stirring arrangements and fanfares.
Sterling’s wife – Carol Anne Taylor – is an avid runner and has recently joined the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) TEAM MOMENTUM, running for her husband and to raise money for MD research. She has qualified to participate in the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016. If you would like to join Team Sterling, you can to make a contribution to MD research and assistance by clicking this link.
This article was written by bassoonist Cara Owens.
Harmony in the Kitchen Recipes
Costco Leg of Lamb
Karen Hall, Cellist
Everyone who loves shopping at Costco raise your hand! Here’s an easy recipe that you’ll want to make again and again.
Step one: Go to Costco and get a big cart. (Because you’re worth it, be sure to pick up some new clothes on your way to the meat department.) Get one Kirkland Signature Leg of Lamb – usually about $4.99 a pound.
Step two: Buy a nice bottle of Malbec – Costco Signature Series wines are darned good – and you are SO worth it.
Step three: Get a bag of lemons because when life gives you lemons you can make both lemonade AND a flavorful lamb roast.
Step four: Buy a package of Minsley Organic Brown Rice Bowls. Six bowls for $6.99 which is WAY too much money to pay for brown rice but once again, you’re worth it and this recipe is supposed to be easy.
Consider buying flowers and chocolate on the way out – because you’re worth it!
Step five: Go home and get out the crock pot. Put in:
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
4 – 6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Add the lamb roast in the mesh and cook on high for 6 – 8 hours.
Remove meat from mesh and pull apart with forks until you have chunky shreds.
Pour juices into container and skim off fat.
Use juices to make gravy or cook to a reduction.
Cook up the rice (90 seconds!) and serve lamb over rice with juices. If you haven’t finished the wine yet, be sure to have a glass of that, too! If you MUST have something green, a side of french green beans with butter and almonds would be lovely.
And as a bonus – leftovers are even better, especially on a greek salad!
Have you gotten your T-shirt yet? These shirts were beautifully designed by our principal violist Laura Bruton. They are $20 each, adult sizes S-3X, and can be purchased online by emailing orders to us at email@example.com. We are now also selling yard signs with the same design for $10 each.
T-shirts and yard signs will also be for sale at select venues, so stay tuned to our Facebook page to find out when and where we'll be!
Pictured left are Seth McConnell, timpani, and Keira Fullerton, cello. Right, violist Aleksandra Holowka stands behind a yard sign with her daughter, Ella, and neighbors, violist Dan Sigale and Samson.
Thank you to the many substitute musicians who performed with us this month!