You don’t have to travel all the way to Manhattan to enjoy classical music performed by a live orchestra.
The Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra has announced the beginning of its 50th anniversary 2013-14 season.
Unlike other orchestras, the FHSO is comprised of nonprofessionals of all ages.
“We’ve had people as young as nine and as old as 95 who have played with us,” Musical Director Franklin Verbsky said. “Basically we’re here for anyone who can hold up an instrument.”
Verbsky, entering his 44th season as the FHSO music director and conductor, said he tries to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.
“It’s more about having a good experience than being hard on the players,” Verbsky said. “We choose pieces that allow the musicians to play at a speed they can handle. I’m coming from a long teaching career so I know how to approach these sort of things.”
Verbsky, who was principal cello with the orchestra before being promoted, said the most important factor in having a strong orchestra is practice.
“I tell them to practice as much as they can,” he said. “I also suggest that they listen to recordings of the music they will be performing so they get a feel for what it’s supposed to sound like.”
The FHSO is a classical orchestra but features none of the heavy brass instruments. With all the musicians coming from different backgrounds, Verbsky and other music teachers have turned the diverse group into a cohesive orchestra.
“It’s nice to have people from all walks of life with different experiences to come pick up an instrument,” Verbsky said. “Some of the musicians come in having not played since high school.”
For the first program, the FHSO will play Beethoven’s “Coriolanus Overture Op. 62,” Haydn’s “Symphony Number 102” in B flat, Dubois’ “Petite Suite” for flute and bassoon, Gounod’s “Faust Ballet Music” and Waldteufel’s “Skater’s Waltz.”
FHSO programs are made possible by funding from the Department of Aging and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).