The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra has over 40 members including 5 Cellists (not in order) Lila Williams, Riley Fulmer Gaye Nelson, Jessica Peterson and Debra Vrandenburg. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.


The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra plays their final piece, Hymn To Joy during their debut performance at the Mesquite Community Theatre on November 22, 2014. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.


Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra performs Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony during their inaugural performance on November 22 at the Mesquite Community Theatre. This piece was arranged by Jerry Brubaker in 2013. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

The question, what makes our community a great place to live can easily be answered by looking at the vitality of the arts around us.   Public arts competition, exhibits and education, community festivals, dance, live theatre, museums and galleries, and your local symphony orchestra playing in front of an audience for the very first time.  These are all visible signs of a strong community; a great community.

One of the reasons Mesquite is a great place to live is because the people who live here make it that way. People adapt to their community, and it adapts to them. If great orchestral music is what people want in their town, they can make that happen.

The people of Mesquite and the surrounding areas of Moapa, Overton, St. George, Littlefield, Beaver Dam and Scenic got together and did exactly that, they made that happen for Mesquite.

The fact there is a symphony orchestra in Mesquite implies that the city has a certain appreciation for the beauty of the finer things.

Appreciation is what was shown when the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, led by Dr. Selmer Spitzer, made their debut performance to a sold out crowd on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the Mesquite Community Theatre; the orchestra received a standing ovation after playing their final piece in the inaugural concert.

The mission of the Symphony “…is to share our compassion and dedication for music with everyone.  Our purpose is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experience live music through professional concert performances.”  By the response from the sold out crowd, they undoubtedly succeeded in sharing their passion during this concert performance.

The SNSO and their founder, Dr. Spitzer, received several congratulatory letters from Harry Reid, Joseph Hardy, and Dean Heller and from Congressman Steven Horsford who said, “The symphony orchestra of a community has been called “the measuring stick of civic achievement and the foundation of our cultural heritage and community structure.”  Music undoubtedly has the ability to unite and inspire.”

Their passion for music undoubtedly inspired and united the 54 musicians who graced the stage at the Mesquite Community Theatre. Larry LeMieux, Vice President of the SNSO, reached out to his friends and friends of friends to gather as many like-minded musicians as possible and succeeded in completely filling the cozy stage on Saturday night.

Dr. Spitzer credits his wife, Phyllis for sending out hundreds of emails to community members to gain not only hopefully interested musicians but funds to organize the orchestra and buy instruments, music and music stands.

Community support financially was wonderful but when launching such an endeavor, startup costs are phenomenal.  This was an issue Dr. Spitzer was not going to let stand in his way and he and his wife contributed enough to purchase all the music stands, sheet music and even some of the instruments to help make this cultural milestone happen for the city of Mesquite.

Mayor Al Litman thinks the symphony is a wonderful event for Mesquite.  Litman said, “I was so excited we were going to get the symphony in Mesquite.  Mesquite is desperate for quality entertainment and when that quality entertainment shows up, you see people turn out.  If they had a larger venue tonight, they’d have easily filled it.”  Mayor Litman’s prophecy can easily be verified by attending future symphony concerts.

This inaugural performance was the first of four this season.  Other performances are scheduled January 24, 2015 at the Virgin Valley High School Auditorium, March 7, 2015 also at the VVHS auditorium and their final concert scheduled for the 2014 – 15 season is scheduled to be held at the Mesquite Community Theatre on April 11, 2015.