Brazos Valley Symphony Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

When the Brazos Valley Symphony warms up for one of its concerts, you start to realize just how many people of all ages and all walks of life enjoy the symphony.

It's an incredible ensemble of people much like the symphony itself.

Only in our Texas town can a Brazilian conductor walk out and introduce a piece of music first played in Italy over 140 years ago.

The Brazos Valley Symphony didn't get here overnight. It's taken 30 years, a lot of sweat, and some incredible music.

"The sole reason we do what we do is for those out there (in the audience)," said music director Marcelo Bussiki.

It all started in 1981 when the symphony was formed. Over the years it's grown like a steady crescendo. Only three music directors have lead the symphony and for the past 15 years Marcelo Bussiki has been the man with the baton.

"Once you are with an organization for so long, it becomes part of you," said Bussiki.

He puts passion into the performances and for the musicians it's very evident.

"It's been a very fun experience and it's also been exciting to see the growth of the orchestra," said musician Penny Zent.

Zent has been with the symphony for 29 of its 30 seasons. As the principle flautist she's had a good view of the thriving audience over the years.

"If you're a musician and you're looking out in the audience and you see the place packed, you know that people are standing outside trying to get in and it just makes you feel really great. The audience support we have is amazing and we could always use more," said Zent.

"There are very few communities of this size that can actually sustain a symphony organization of this caliber and quality."

The Brazos Valley Symphony's first review was written in the Eagle by the late Thyra Plass. It was by no means a scathing review, but the article did mention the playing of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as "overly ambitious."

Bussiki wanted to show how far the symphony had come.

"Marcelo said, lets do that same concert we did 30 years ago," said executive director Mary Koeninger.

So the symphony opened its season with that familiar fifth and it nailed it.

The sheer power of the symphony now brings another line of that same article a little closer to home.

"The merger of live symphony music for our area has been built on a substantial foundation. This could enable the Brazos Symphony to grow beyond some of our wildest dreams," said Thyra in the 1981 article.

"I'd like to think that if Thyra was here today she'd say, yes, the wildest dreams did come true," said Koeninger.

"I couldn't have been prouder. I think the orchestra certainly rose to the occasion. It turned out to be one of the most thrilling experiences I think I've ever had," said Zent.

"I think the community is proud of what we have here," said Bussiki.

Proud and happy to lend an ear anytime it can.

The Brazos Valley Symphony's final performance of the season will take place this Sunday at Rudder Theatre. Tickets for that final performance are available at the MSC box office at 845-1234.

The symphony will also hold its annual Derby Days Gala on May 5th.


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