SBSO Celebrates: A Preview

Reviewer: Michelle Nemeth Puckett

Venue: The Temple Theatre

I recently had the opportunity to chat in person with Cameron Massey the director of the Saginaw Bay Orchestra in his office that is located inside the awe-inspiring historic Temple Theatre, built in 1926.  Cameron, who is driven by building community and building UNITY had a twinkle in his eyes that if I had to describe in one word, I would say “Extremely Charismatically Passionate about the Power of Community, Culture and Music.” In other words, he is very excited about the SBSO’s ‘Music to Celebrate’ A tribute to black composers concert.

My mission was to interview him about this upcoming SBSO symphony concert. So with pen in hand I went to get the who, the what, the where, the when. The WHEN is Saturday, February 4, 2023, at 8:00pm. The WHERE – at the Temple Theatre in Saginaw Michigan. The WHO –  Maestro Fouad Fakhouri and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra with guest vocalist Sharrie Williams and a special surprise appearance. The WHAT – A tribute to black composers showcasing classical composers/influencers Julia Perry’s ‘A Short Piece for Orchestra’ and William Grant Still’s ‘Afro-American Symphony’.  The music after intermission will feature even more influencers like Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, along with a tribute to Louis Armstrong and the Magic of Motown.

Upon our conversation I also found out that the concert will have the very joyful guest vocalist Sharrie Williams grace the stage once again. There will also be a surprise for the audience (stop reading right now if you’re into surprises and scroll down to the bottom to secure your ticket(s) ASAP!) with a special appearance from The Saginaw United High School Drumline. Drumline!?!?!!!  For real?

“Yes! And the surprise is not knowing exactly when they will appear.”  

By having The Saginaw United High School Drumline join the SBSO for the evening, Cameron hopes that the audience will see future performers. He also hopes to inspire the youth that will be attending to be a part of the Saginaw Bay Youth Orchestra.  

The big goals for this concert season are to  unite and ignite and illuminate. Cameron thinks that this concert especially matches the UNITE and IGNITE.  The SBSO is not only bringing awareness to this amazing music by these composers but they are also hoping to inspire people of all ages. “If these composers can create such beauty in the face of adversity, then anyone can rise to greatness.” 

Will there be dancing in the seats? “I hope so! I certainly hope so!  Knowing our crowd, maybe, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility! A lot of this music is hard not to dance too.” 

Speaking of seats, I was surprised to find out that seating prices start at $11 for student general admission and $16 for adult general admission.  That sounds like a date night win win! Speaking of a win, he also mentioned that they are having a raffle and selling a limited amount of tickets.

The grand prize is a trip for two to New York City and second prize is dinner with Maestro Fouad Fakhouri in Saginaw. Tickets are $60 each or 3 for $150. The winner will be announced after intermission at the March 4th ‘Romantic Reflections’ concert and the entrant does not need to be present to win.  Although, wouldn’t that be wonderful to hear your name called out inside the Temple Theatre?

The sponsors for this concert are as follows, Tri-Star Trust, SVSU, Dow Credit Union, and Jim & Christine Church. 

There are many ways to support the SBSO and the SBYO  and their devotion to community, culture, and their music mission from simply purchasing a ticket to adopting an instrument.  You can go to the Saginaw Bay Orchestra’s website to see all of the creative ways to help and subscribe to keep in the know of future happenings.  There are some really exciting events coming soon too, such as ‘Music Under The Stars’ May 13, 2023, Magical Musical Lunches and Sip With The Symphony.  https://saginawbayorchestra.com/

After speaking with Cameron, he is clearly devoted to showcasing Saginaw’s talent, youth and culture. He hopes to inspire any children that may be coming. “I would love for them to see the Drumline or hear the orchestra or hear the singing and think, I can do that!” His goal is to create a memorable experience and to IGNITE all in unique ways. It is also very important to him to always be an inspiration to future performers of the SBSO and the youth symphony.  

Cameron closed our conversation with 

 “The right notes in the right places really have the power to change someone’s life. We try to remember that with every note that we play.”

Thinking about every note and how many notes that are played and each person playing the notes bringing forth their passion and practicing countless hours to bring life to the music for one performance night while sharing their beautiful gift with the audience, gave me chills. 

I’m grateful that I got the chance to meet up with Cameron in person and witness his passion for togetherness through the power of music and to write this interview/preview to share with you.  I believe music goes beyond the self and reaches the core of all beings bringing forth a message of love, compassion, oneness, celebration and admiration.  The SBSO’s ‘Music to Celebrate’ along with the very special guest performers and all of the audience members coming together will definitely accomplish this!

If I had to sum up my interview/preview in one word I would say “Thank you Cameron for illuminating this music and all that you do. I’m looking forward to celebrating next Saturday at the spectacular Temple Theatre, with the SBSO, the Maestro, Sharrie Williams, The Saginaw United High School Drumline, the audience and all of the people who help make this delightful live orchestral night of music come true!”

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