Rotarians hear from Starkville Symphony

Starkville-MSU Symphony Board President Eric Hill speaks at the Starkville Rotary Club meeting Monday. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Staff Writer

The Starkville Rotarians got to know one of the Golden Triangle’s cultural assets Monday when Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra Board President Eric Hill spoke to the Rotary Club.

Hill discussed the orchestra’s current season, as well as its 50-year history, and what it offers the community. The ensemble was founded in 1969, and now numbers at least 50 musicians, with even more being brought in for some works and some concerts. The symphony chorus was founded in 1973, and the children’s program in 1975. The Starkville-MSU Symphony is the sole orchestra in Mississippi with no admission to any of its performances.

“The good news is that, wherever you fit in that spectrum, the symphony is for you,” Hill said. “The symphony is for everybody, kids from around the world, large orchestras, jazz at the Renasant that you enjoyed a few weeks ago. World-renowned musicians are brought in to perform. Wherever you fit on that spectrum of classical music enjoyment. I am here to say that there is a place for you to come enjoy music.”

He discussed the tragic life of Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, whose music was presented in the first concert of the season in September. Verdi lost his wife and children, and vowed never to compose again, until being inspired to do so by a religious text.

“Though today, his piece is performed all over the country, and all over the world, it’s very rarely actually in the United States,” Hill said. “Really just a month ago in the Rent Auditorium at The W, there were eight-year-olds, 10-year-olds and other children that heard the entire emotional story of Giuseppe Verdi who composed that piece over in Europe, and it was performed right here in the Golden Triangle.”

Hill, who also serves as the director of the MSU College of Businesses E-Center, also discussed the economic impact of the orchestra, including its role in making the area more desirable to entrepreneurs and others.

“The symphony has this cultural impact to the community, but it very much has a real economic impact, as well, in terms of job creation and job retention,” Hill said.

He said a businessman he had worked with recently was more open to moving to the area for long period of time, in part because of the symphony.

“I hope you will consider coming to one of our concerts coming up,” Hill said. “You will not want to miss them.”

The orchestra’s schedule and more information can be found on its website.

The next concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Lee Hall. It will feature Haylee Glenn, the winner of the 2018 MSU Concerto Competition, along with works by Williams, Gold, Brown, Copeland and Puccini.