Jill McLaughlin Photo
The children on the right: Luke Simmons, 2, and his sister Brooke, 3, are joined by two more kids while they try playing the drums at the “Instrument Petting Zoo” Monday before the Roswell Symphony Orchestra’s Labor Day Concert at the Spring River Park and Zoo.
Record Staff Writer
The Roswell Symphony Orchestra entertained an estimated 500 attendees this year during the Labor Day Concert at the Spring River Park and Zoo.
Adults and children alike crowded around the stage in lawn chairs and on blankets enjoying the pleasant, breezy evening while listening to patriotic marches and arrangements.
“I’m excited and I know you are also,” Mayor Del Jurney told the crowd about the return of the orchestra to the park after a year hiatus.
Jurney served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.
“We brought it back this year,” said RSO Board President Fawn Alcorn-Pierce. “It’s a traditional concert. It’s very popular with the community. It’s the symphony’s way to thank the community for supporting us.”
This year is Maestro John Farrer’s 41st year and RSO’s 54th year.
The RSO began in 1959 in the basement of the First Methodist Church. Contributors came from many walks of life, from lawyers, accountants and teachers to florists, housewives and geologists.
The group began its first concert season in 1960, which featured three concerts held in New Mexico Military Institute’s Pearson Auditorium. Now the season includes a series of five classical concerts in Pearson Auditorium with guest artists and a variety of other performances. Most of those who play for the symphony are part-time performers and live elsewhere.
“I do like the symphony,” said Laura Brown, who attended with her son. “I like to come and watch.”
Ruth Wong, whose husband, Yau-Sun Wong, plays the bass for RSO, said it was always great to see the performance.
“I love the caliber of music the Roswell Symphony has,” Wong said. “It’s the main reason my husband participates. I always come and enjoy listening to the music as well.”
Lara Salazar, who is a student of Yau-Sun Wong, said she appreciated the public participation.
“I love the fact that they open it up to the public, so children can learn and appreciate it,” Salazar said. “Maybe it will foster a desire (in them) to play in the future.”
Children were also able to get their hands on instruments before the performance. Students from Roswell and Goddard High School bands held an “Instrument Petting Zoo” nearby, where children played the drums, violins and brass instruments.
The schools participate to try to encourage younger students to become interested in instrumental music, said Roswell High School Band Director Greg Odom.
“I definitely did like the drums,” said Phoenix Grammer, 9. “It was awesome. When I get home, I’m going to play the keyboard. It’s food for your soul.”