On Stage Together: The Taft School and Waterbury Symphony Orchestras

Members of Taft’s Chamber Orchestra will take the stage alongside the professional artists of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (WSO) on Sunday, May 19th.

Members of Taft’s Chamber Orchestra will take the stage alongside the professional artists of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (WSO) on Sunday, May 19th. It is an extraordinary opportunity for Taft students, and acknowledgement of the high level of talent and achievement reflected in Taft’s arts programs.

“The brand-new collaboration with The Taft School’s student Chamber Orchestra has generated quite some excitement,” says Doug Donato Executive Director, WSO. “To offer these 25 talented student musicians from The Taft School an opportunity to perform alongside the seasoned professionals of the WSO, is partly what we are about as an orchestra.”

Under the direction of instrumental music teacher TJ Thompson, Taft’s Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble have had a phenomenal year. In addition to their full roster of campus performances, the artists performed and recorded in Nashville, and served as the pit orchestra for a local performance of Into the Woods and at a regional opera house. Individual members have earned accolades across the globe, from the Connecticut All-State Music Festival and the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, to the Seoul International Competition, sponsored by the Korean Professional Artists Association and the New York Institute of the Arts. And now: A side-by-side performance with the WSO.

“It has been such a wonderful thrill to work with the students,” says Thompson. “Performing with the Waterbury Symphony will be a phenomenal experience—one that I am so grateful these students will have.”

Thompson worked in concert with Taft adjunct faculty member and strings teacher Lisa Laquidara in bringing this opportunity to Taft students. Laquidara is also a dedicated violinist with the WSO.

“We certainly owe Lisa Laquidara a debt of gratitude for her help with establishing this connection,” notes Thompson.

The May 19th program marks the 2023-24 Celebrating Joy season finale for the WSO. The concert, Heavenly Journey: Mozart & Mahler, opens with the Taft/WSO side-by-side performance of the beloved Marriage of Figaro Overture, after which the Taft artists will join the audience. The program then continues with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622, featuring Chris Dechant, winner of the 2024 WSO Thomas C. Clark Young Artist Competition, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major, featuring Grammy-nominated Soprano Laquita Mitchell.

The May 19th performance begins at 3 pm at the Fine Art Center, CT State Community College, Naugatuck Valley, 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT. Ticket holders for the 3 pm concert are invited to arrive at 2 pm for a pre-concert lecture by WSO Cultural Ambassador Dr Vincent deLuise entitled, Mozart and Mahler: Two Titans, Perfect Together. The 25-minute lecture will explore the commonalities and differences in their musical styles.

Tickets start at $25, and available online via the WSO website at waterburysymphony.org, or by phone, by calling WSO’s box office partner, The Palace Theater Box Office at (203) 346-2000 Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About WSO
Creating music since 1938, the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra’s core belief is that music, music education and shared cultural experiences are essential for humanity. Three primary strands of the WSO include its MasterWorks Classical Concerts including its annual Symphony & Cinema Concert, its prodigious satellite performances including its Music in Great Spaces series of innovative concerts and smaller ensembles, and finally their celebrated educational programs for libraries, schools, and underserved communities. Led by Leif Bjaland for the past twenty-eight seasons, WSO draws over one hundred talented professional musicians from across New England. Learn more at waterburysymphony.org.

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