SAN ANTONIO – Professional and pro-level symphonic orchestras are gaining momentum as they travel to reach audiences beyond traditional music halls.
Five years ago, Ronnie Sanders got the idea of having high-caliber musicians come together to form an orchestra and play for audiences for free.
“Would anybody show up? And they did,” Sanders said to his surprise.
He has about 70 members who audition for the part. They travel to different auditoriums in the city and area as part of the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra.
“Most of our concerts are absolutely free. We want anybody who wants to hear an orchestra to come without any problem with ticket prices,” Sanders said.
The orchestra relies on donations and fundraisers for support.
“It’s different when you’re playing with two or three people and then 70 people,” Sanders said.
Vaeda Corso, who plays the cello, said there is an artistic expression she wants audiences to be a part of when they come to the shows.
“We come together, and it’s kind of like, ‘Here’s this thing that we’ve just put our hearts, sweat and tears in.’ So it’s something for them to enjoy and experience,” she said.
Corso has been playing since she was a teen and said it’s not about getting paid but rather for the creative outlet.
“I don’t mind either way. I’d still do it. I mean, I’ve been doing it for the past three years without being paid,” she said.
Mid-Texas Symphony is turning 45 years this season. The professional orchestra plays in different venues in Seguin and New Braunfels.
Jason Irle, executive director of Mid-Texas Symphony, said the symphony has been gaining programming and reputation with little resources.
“At one point, it was very rare to have communities of the size of Seguin and New Braunfels to actually support a full symphony orchestra, organization or society,” he said. “We are actually progressing towards a very prominent regional professional orchestra and in central Texas.”
The grassroots organization has its reach in rural schools and children’s concerts in Bulverde.
Here’s where you can find the calendar for the Mid-Texas Symphony.
Here’s the information for the South Texas Symphonic Orchestra.