SALISBURY, MD---When the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra at Salisbury University (SSO) presented its first concert in May 1986, some 50 community musicians took the Holloway Hall Auditorium stage to present seven selections, including Aaron Copland’s “Hoe-Down” from the musical Rodeo.
Celebrating two decades this month, the SSO revisits that Copland selection, along with the companion piece “Buckaroo Holiday,” 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in Holloway Hall Auditorium, where five of the original SSO members will take their Spring Concert seats for the 20th time. They are: oboist Julie Barton of Selbyville, DE; violinist Mary-Beth Goll of Easton, MD; violist George Hayne of Salisbury; Dr. Charles Smith Jr., tympanist, of Salisbury; and violinist Bobbie Thamert, also of Salisbury.
A certified school nurse, Barton has made music a part of her life for decades. Besides serving as a member of the SSO, she performs with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony and the Eastern Shore Woodwind Quintet. She also performs, both instrumentally and vocally, at the Community Church of Ocean Pines, MD.
A retired Queen Anne’s County English teacher, Goll was introduced to the violin in the fourth grade, when the public school she attended in Bronxville, NY, began offering lessons. A member of the local high school orchestra during her final six years of school, she was exposed to music from a wide range of composers—Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Borodin, Gilbert and Sullivan, Leroy Anderson and Morton Gould among them—that influenced her love for the symphony. She calls playing with the SSO “a highlight in my life.”
A retired physicist at NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility, Hayne’s involvement with the SSO precedes the group’s actual inception. In 1980, he started viola lessons with future SSO member Thamert. In 1986, they were among the founding members of the orchestra. Along with his expertise on the viola, Hayne is an accomplished tenor, having sung since college, and bassoonist, initially under the tutelage of Ron Reed. These talents allow him to perform with the Salisbury Chorale at SU, under the direction of Dr. William Folger, as well as the SU Concert Band, conducted by Lee Knier.
A retired professor of music at SU, Smith has been the SSO’s principal tympanist since its inaugural performance. Introduced to playing music when he joined the high school band at age 12, the hobby quickly became a passion. In 1963, he joined the Salisbury Community Band, which he has served as a musician and conductor for more than four decades. In 1997 and 2004, he expanded his conducting experiences, serving as guest conductor of the SSO. He also is a member of the SSO Advisory Board and performs wit the Mid-Atlantic Symphony.
A music teacher with Wicomico County Public Schools, specializing in stringed instruments, Thamert has influenced local music as an instructor and musician for more than a quarter century. She began playing the violin at age 7, learning from her grandfather, a violin teacher and musician with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Along with performing in the SSO, she is a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church Orchestra and a frequent violinist at local weddings.
With their varied backgrounds, each 20-year member is united with other SSO performers—many of whom have come and gone throughout the years—through a common love of music. Dr. Jeffrey Schoyen, conductor of the SSO, sees their commitment as a success story in music’s ability to unite a community.
“The person sitting beside you could be a medical doctor, a teacher or a student,” he said. “Being a part of the SSO gives you a deep sense of community and identity.”
Two SU students performing with the orchestra this spring are the recipients of the SSO Student Award scholarship for performance arts. They are sophomore athletic training major Pamela Staso of Bel Air, MD, and freshman elementary education major Alison Wysocki of Salisbury.
Sponsored by Apple Discount Drugs, admission to the May 13 concert is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for children 12 and under and SU ID holders. A family ticket package, admitting two adults and two children, is available for $45. For advance tickets call the Symphony Office at 410-548-5587. "