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May 23 @ 4:42 pm
Woodwinds and All That Jazz
Symphony of the Mountains has a strong and proud local heritage. It began when a small group of musicians dreamed of having a civic orchestra in 1946. At the time it was known as Kingsport Symphony Orchestra. Twenty-seven musicians attended the first rehearsal and the number quickly grew to more than 40. The first concert was free to the public and neither the conductor nor any of the musicians were paid.
Through the decades the musical enrichment included classical concerts, entertaining pops, and light musical offerings, captivating soloists, and empowering opportunities for young musicians. The Kingsport Symphony Youth Orchestra was formed in 1965 and presently consists of 80 young people representing the entire region. The mid-1980s brought the premier run-out performance in Bristol plus the beginning of the Education in the Schools Outreach program. In 1994 Musicians in the Schools began. In 2003, Kingsport Symphony was renamed Symphony of the Mountains. The chorus merged with the Bristol Concert Choir under the name Voices of the Mountains.
In the ’80s and ’90s, the orchestra grew steadily and increased its outreach. As mandated by the Board of Directors, the commitment to service encompasses the entire region, without regard for state or county boundaries. In 1998 the symphony board added to the long-range plans the goal of becoming an orchestra for the entire Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region, a service area of approximately 450,000 citizens. They mandated the orchestra to become a fully professional orchestra. Today the orchestra consists of more than 70 professional musicians and is conducted by Cornelia Laemmli Orth.