Guest Suzuki violinists from Japan will perform in the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association’s “Strings Across the Sea” concerts in Starkville Jan. 20. They are pictured with conductor Mineko Shioya (in black jacket) and to her left, her daughter Itsuki Surata, who assists. Photo by: Courtesy photo
January 7, 2017 10:01:24 PM
Final details are being put in place for the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association's annual Programs for Children concerts, set for Friday, Jan. 20. This year's presentation includes more details than usual: It features a group of young guest violinists traveling from Nara Prefecture, Japan.
The concert series, themed "Strings Across the Sea," will provide three daytime concerts for children and teachers in grades K-5 from Oktibbeha County and an evening performance for the public, all in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium on the Mississippi State campus.
Approximately 3,000 individuals will hear the 70-piece symphony performing three "winter" movements from Vivaldi's "The Seasons," Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," K. 525, and selections from Suzuki Vol. 1-7. Featured solos will be performed by the children from Japan.
Audiences also get to sing a Japanese folk song, "Yuuyaka Koyaka," led by a select children's choir from Ward-Steward Elementary School, under the direction of chorus teacher Beverly Doremus.
Dr. Barry Kopetz, head of the MSU music department, is conductor of the Starkville-MSU Symphony. Special guest conductor of the Mozart selection will be Mineko Shioya of Japan. The young Suzuki violinists are her students. Narrator for the concert will be Chieko Iwata, former Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator at MSU, who serves as translator for the traveling musicians. Itsuki Surata, who assists Shioya in Japan, will join the symphony on viola.
During the concerts, images of Japan and images of winning art by area children will be displayed, sharing Japanese culture and customs.
"I have now learned a tremendous amount about Japanese culture," said Programs for Children Chair Joe Ray Underwood. He and many others have helped coordinate the guest performers' visit and concert logistics, which include everything from travel and lodging to food and shuttle schedules.
"It's very inspiring to see the number of people who have come forward for this, who have stood up and said let us help," Underwood said.
Public evening concert
The public is invited to attend the longer evening program of "Strings Across the Sea" at 7:30 p.m. In addition to the music presented for Programs for Children, it will feature Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor," K. 466.
All concerts are presented free of charge.
In addition to membership dues and private donations, the Programs for Children is funded, in part, by grants from organizations including The Mississippi Arts Commission, the Four-County Educational Foundation and the CREATE Foundation.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.