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Orchestra To Perform
At Prestigious Festivals

Forty members of the Sam Houston State University orchestra are the only American students invited to perform this year at the holiday season London City and London Parade Festivals.

The symphony, under the direction of conductor Carol Smith, will present a series of concerts at the invitation of the Lord Mayor of Westminster. The SHSU musicians depart Dec. 27 and return Jan. 3.

"Sam Houston State is the only university orchestra invited to perform at the festivals," said Smith, "thus representing Sam Houston, Texas and the United States in an international festival at a professional venue. Additional performers from all areas of the performing arts will be attending the festival from all regions of the United States and Canada."

One of the general festival performances by the symphony will feature a concert of American music by Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and John Williams. Concertmistress Tajette Travenia, a junior from Abilene, will also perform as a featured violin soloist.

The major performance focus of the symphony will be the Jan. 2 performance of the Francis Poulenc "Concerto in G Minor for Organ, Strings, and Timpani." Additionally, the symphony will perform George Frideric Handel's "Concerto Grosso in Bb Major, Opus 6, No. 7."

The organ concerto solo performer will be Jay Whatley, graduate assistant in piano studies and student of John Paul. Whatley is director of music and arts ministries and organist at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

The Jan. 2 performance will be given at St. John's at Smith Square in London. The St. John's series is known to the British as their second most prestigious, deferring only to the internationally-known series at St. Martin's-in-the-Field in London.

"The majority of our students have not traveled widely outside the boundaries of our state," said Smith. "The performance experiences offered in the London tour will, undoubtedly, be an unparalleled event in the young professional lives of these Sam Houston students, a once-in-a-lifetime career-enhancing opportunity.

"This kind of high profile concert tour offers an exceptional opportunity to represent the university internationally and bring a certain amount of honor back to the school from this prestigious event," she said.

Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Dec. 19, 1997

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