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Po-Hi Symphony Orchestra Concert Friday

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The Ponca City High School Symphony Orchestra will be presenting their Annual Spring Concerto Concert Friday evening, May 19, at 7:00, in the Ponca City Schools Concert Hall. The group is under the baton of Paula R. Cochran, Director of Orchestras at the high school. Katie Rolf and Cassidy Broome assist each day and teach orchestra at the middle and elementary schools. Trent Davis and Connor Pratt, have assisted with the wind and percussion section of the Symphony Orchestra. Retired maestro Dan P. Larson has been invited back to conduct six pieces on the program. The Finale will include our traditional farewell to the senior class ending with On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss.

The community is cordially invited to the last performance to be given by this award-winning group of musicians. “This orchestra senior class has worked hard to continue Dan Larson’s legacy,” said Paula Cochran. “They are an amazing group of young people that have left footprints in our hearts.” There is no admission charge to the event.

The 2023 Award-winning symphony opens the night with a virtuous march, Hungarian Dance No. 5, by Johannes Brahms, directed by Paula Cochran. The symphony orchestra received straight superior ratings on their performance of this piece at OSSAA State Orchestra Contest in February.

Next, the orchestra presents Andante Festivo, by Jean Sibelius. The seniors requested this piece as it is truly a favorite of theirs to perform.

We next invite retired maestro, Dan Larson to the stage to conduct senior symphony band member Britany Navarro’s performance of the first movement of Suite Antique by John Rutter. This beautiful flute concerto is a testimony to Britany’s wonderful tone and musicality.

Senior Sarah Way will then move the audience with Giulio Caccini’s , Ave Maria. This lyrical piece will move you to tears as Sarah uses the full range of her cello.

After the cello solo, the group is ready to present Richard Meyer’s extremely powerful and emotion filled overture, Millennium. Complete with a foreboding introduction, lyrical themes, and a wild and energetic march, this “tour de force” for the orchestra will be conducted by head band director, Trent Davis.

To conclude the first half of the concert, director Paula Cochran will again take the podium to lead the orchestra in a performance of the 2023 Middle School Medley arranged by Paula Cochran and transcribed by Cassidy Broome. This piece takes us through the senior class’ favorite moments in their musical journey starting back in 2015.

Following the closure of the medley, the senior members of the symphony orchestra will be recognized with an escorted walk to the stage. The Symphony Orchestra has 29 seniors this year, of which 21 are string musicians.

After the senior recognition, we invite Dan Larson back to the stage to conduct two pieces featured in Branson. The string orchestra performed these two pieces El Gran Cielo De Texas and Bog Old Texas Sky, (composed and used with permission from Larry Hanson and John Hagen) on stage WITH the Texas Tenors this past March. We invite Vocal Music Director Chad Keilman to the stage to sing the solo in Big Old Texas Sky.

Maestro Dan Larson will stay on the podium to direct our senior Violinist Isabelle Willis, as she performs Salute D’Amour by Edward Elgar. Ranked as a favorite in 19th Century literature, Miss Willis effectively demonstrates the tonal beauty required for this concerto.

Orchestra director Paula Cochran returns to the stage to conduct  Warrior Legacy by Soon Hee Newbold. This energetic piece was a hit in Branson and an audience favorite!

For the final symphonic piece of the night, the group takes to the seas for ans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. In Lavender and Longfield’s arrangement, themes from the film flow seamlessly into one another, featuring auxiliary maritime percussion, a haunting oboe solo, and a triumphant finale by the brass section. This selection will be conducted by director Paula Cochran.

It has become a tradition of the string section to conclude the final concert of the year with On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss by David Holsinger. This beautiful work is based on the moving hymn It is Well with My Soul. Retired Maestro Dan Larson says, “This is one of the orchestra’s favorite pieces to perform. They know the history of the hymn and how to bring the music to life. I can’t believe there is a group anywhere who performs this selection any better than they do. They play with such heart.”