West Texas Symphony to perform in downtown Odessa

The West Texas Symphony will be playing at Ector Theatre next week. (Courtesy photo)

Maestro Gary Lewis and the West Texas Symphony always enjoy doing concerts at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.

But they won’t complain about having the rare opportunity to play at Ector Theatre in downtown Odessa.

Next week, as a part of its 60th anniversary celebration, the West Texas Symphony will be putting on a special concert titled “Downtown Classics” at the Ector Theatre.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 24.

“It’s very exciting to visit the Ector Theatre and to take the orchestra to downtown Odessa,” Lewis said. “It’s a unique opportunity. We’re so excited about it.”

The West Texas Symphony usually performs at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center but this concert gives the orchestra a chance to go out into the community and play at a different venue to mark its celebration season.

This is also the first year that the West Texas Symphony is playing under its new name, changing its name from the Midland-Odessa Symphony Chorale last summer.

“It’s a distinct and smaller, classical concert style in the sense that the orchestra is smaller, featuring some of our best musicians,” Lewis said. “It’s our 60th anniversary season and it’s a special initiative. We want to continue to take the orchestra out to our communities and the Wagner Noël, as wonderful and as magnificent as it is, we want to visit some of our venues. Some of our smaller ensembles already do some of these performances out in the community and this is just part of our effort to reach out.”

The music that will be featured at next week’s concert include pieces from Joseph Boulogne including his overture to “L’Amant anonyme” and “Symphonia Concertante.”

Boulogne was a French creole virtuso violinist and composer who was conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. He lived from 1745-1799.

“He wrote some really charming music,” Lewis said. “So we’re going to do an overture to one of his anonymes and ‘Symphonia Concertante’ which is going to feature our two principal violinists as soloists.”

Continuing with the theme of French composers for the first half, the concert will also feature the “Dance Suite” by Jean-Phillippe Rameau.

“It’s a unique and interesting repertoire that would be suitable for a larger place like the Wagner Noël but I think it’ll be just delightful in the Ector Theatre,” Lewis said.

The second half of the concert will feature Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous “Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550.”

“It was his next-to-last symphony and it’s probably his most famous symphony,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to be a really fun program.”

It’s been a busy stretch for the West Texas Symphony.

Earlier this month, the symphony had its Pops and Family Series featuring famous saxophonist Brad Leali before taking part in a unique collaboration last week with the Midland Festival Ballet in the Regional Dance America Southwest Festival.

“There’s been an exciting initiative for us in between our chamber concerts series and pops and family concerts,” Lewis said. “It’s just reflective of how active and how vital the orchestra is these days. We really want to present the amazing musicians and bring our music to the community in different ways. The collaboration with the ballet last week was so great and it was exciting to be a part of that. It was the first time that regional dance America had featured live music as far as its showcase concert.”

Members of the symphony will be busy with their Chamber Music Series concerts.

The Permian Basin String Quartet will be having a concert next month at 3 p.m. April 23 at Rea-Greathouse Recital Hall. The West Texas Winds will have their final concert of the season at 7:30 p.m. May 13 at the Wagner Brown Auditorium at Midland College.

The symphony will return to the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center on April 15 with “Rachmaninoff,” featuring Caroline Hong on piano.

The season will conclude with “Back to the Future in Concert” on May 20 at the Wagner Noël.

“It just shows the range and scope of what this orchestra is able to do and present music of all styles to the community,” Lewis said.

To purchase tickets for next week’s concert, go to tinyurl.com/4f8truf8.

If you go

>> What: West Texas Symphony presents: “Downtown Classics.”

>> When: 7:30 p.m. March 24.

>> Where: Ector Theatre.

>> Where to purchase tickets: tinyurl.com/4f8truf8