Music to Celebrate – SBSO Achieves A Medley of Fun

Reviewer: Edwin Williamson

Venue: The Temple Theatre

I grew up on music. Some of my earliest memories are of myself sat at the piano bench and some of my best memories are on stage with my best friends. Yet, when I came to college, the distance between myself and the music I loved making grew larger and larger until I came to where I am now—impossibly far away with no clear understanding on how to make it back.  

When I was presented with the opportunity to see the Saginaw Bay Orchestra perform their latest concert, ‘Music to Celebrate,’ I was excited but nervous. Would I still love music the way I did when I was younger? Am I too far from who I was before to still enjoy it? Sitting in anticipation in the beautiful Temple Theatre, I could only wait to see.  

And then the concertmaster took the stage. I couldn’t help myself from smiling at the familiarity of it all. I was certainly struck with a great feeling of loss, but more importantly I was overcome with so much joy. I could clearly remember my time performing—jazz, symphony orchestra, small ensembles, marching band—and could see myself sitting in the very chairs on stage, but I was in the audience tonight and I was in awe.  

Reflecting on the concert, it was so striking to hear music so distinctly American. I was absolutely stunned by the power in Julia Perry’s “A Short Piece for Orchestra,” the concerts opener. The energy in each performer and the passion conveyed by conductor, Fouad Fakhouri, was incredible. For those who were unable to attend, I would highly recommend listening to the music performed that night. Not just for the splendor of hearing beautiful music, but for the historical significance of each of these pieces. This concert, ‘Music to Celebrate,’ highlights Black American composers and performers in a beautiful way, but also invites individuals to research more about those who are celebrated. Michelle Nemeth Puckett goes further into the intentions behind this concert in her interview with director Cameron Massey and I would highly recommend you take the time to read that article as well.  

This concert was an incredibly pleasure to attend. From the amazing performance of William Grant Still’s “Afro-American Symphony” to the incredible fun it was to hear Sharrie Williams sing along with the symphony orchestra in “Magic of Motown.” I cannot express how happy I was to see and hear this performance and find that, much to my relief, my passion for music had never gone anywhere. It has always been with me and always will be.  

If you missed this performance, don’t worry! The Saginaw Bay Orchestra will be back in the Temple Theatre on March 4th with their show, ‘Romantic Reflections.’ You can get tickets for this show, or any other future shows, on their website: https://saginawbayorchestra.com/2022-2023-season/! 

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