Music to the ears

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017

LaGRANGE- Fifth grade classes from public and private elementary schools in Troup County were at Callaway Auditorium Tuesday afternoon to watch musicians perform a number of appealing and familiar musical compositions at the annual school musical program by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.

The concert is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence.

The program aimed to take students on a musical journey starting from the 1600s to present time. There were four musicians on stage throughout the program that played multiple composition pieces from famous and celebrated composers like Johann Sabastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (performing Mozart’s well-known “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”), Ludwig van Beethoven (performing the “Ninth Symphony”), Felix Mendelssohn (playing the popular “Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream”), Scott Joplin, Aaron Copland and the most renowned film score composer of the past four decades, John Williams.

The instruments that musicians Callie Hammond, Ela Tokarska, Katie Truex and Sam Lee played in the concert were two violins, a chello and a viola. Before the group would play a piece by a composer, Hammond would discuss details about playing one of the instruments and explain more about the history and significance of the composers they were highlighting.

“We have done this concert for 15 years now,” said Raylene Morris Carter, director of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. “Each year it is different. Sometimes we have trumpet, trombone, oboe and brass players. The last two years we’ve had string players. This is actually the first year where we have let the students perform at the concert.”

Fifth grade students that are in the Strings Attached program – an after-school program run by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra that consists of more than 60 students in third, fourth and fifth grade – got the chance to perform in front of their fellow classmates. Students wearing orange shirts are in their second year; students in blue shirts are first-year performers.

“It’s important to let the students see, to open up their eyes to something different,” said Carter. “For a lot of this kids this is the first time they’ve been to a live concert. This is like a learning experience for them to learn the history of music. One of our missions as an orchestra is to enrich the community through music. One of the ways we can do that is to offer these programs for the youth, for many of them who have not had this kind of experience.”


Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at