Nittany Valley Symphony to present family concert for all ages

The Nittany Valley Symphony will perform its annual family concert on Sunday.
The Nittany Valley Symphony will perform its annual family concert on Sunday. Photo provided

Just about every week, I have the opportunity to write about all kinds of different bands, concerts, venues, and just about anything going on in the Centre County music scene. It’s a delight, particularly so because the deeper I dig the more I realize how diverse our scene is.

The discovery of diversity continues this week, with a focus on the Nittany Valley Symphony, set to perform “Mr. Smith’s Composition — Family Concert” at 4 p.m. Sunday at Bellefonte Area High School.

The concert, according to Nittany Valley Symphony Musical Director and Composer Michael Jinbo, is “a piece for narrator and symphony orchestra that tells a humorous story of how a composer writes a musical composition.”

Sounds simple enough, right?

Whether you call it classical, orchestral, symphonic, or whatever else, NVS’s style of music often implies complexity, or minimally some type of sophistication, but humor is not often the word that comes to mind. So it’s great that NVS is presenting a humorous piece complete with an annual focus on performing for families.

“Each season, one of our concerts is a family concert,” Jinbo said, “a short program lasting about an hour, ideal for young listeners. It’s a great opportunity for families to experience a live symphony orchestra concert at very reasonable ticket prices. The program’s lively selections will appeal to all ages and the concert is a good introduction to the symphony orchestra.”

Sunday’s performance is part of a full slate of performances that began in September with “A Grand Tour,” a light classical concert, and end in March with “Romantic Favorites.”

“The Nittany Valley Symphony orchestra was incorporated about 30 years ago,” NVS Executive Director Roberta Strebal wrote in an email. “Today, the Symphony is comprised of over 80 professional and volunteer members and Nittany Valley Symphony Guild, a 100-plus member volunteer group. The Nittany Valley Symphony is the Centre Region’s only full-sized, community orchestra.”

Sunday’s performance features a piece for a narrator and an orchestra and the winner of NVS’s annual young soloist competition, celebrated pianist Ellie Kim, a State College Area High School senior.

“She has been a student for the last five years with Dr. Christopher Guzman at Penn State University School of Music (and) has won awards from the Phyllis Triolo Music Competition, Williamsport Concerto Competition, Ann Keller Young Soloist Competition and the Marian Garcia International Piano Competition,” Strebal said. “Ellie has also participated in numerous recitals including the Dorothy Sutton Festival and her duet charity recital.”

The narrator for Sunday’s show is local radio personality Jeff Brown.

If you go

What: Mr. Smith’s Composition Family Concert”

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Bellefonte Area High School, 830 E. Bishop St., Bellefonte

Info: www.nvs.org

Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.