The Southern Nevada Symphony ended its third concert season with “Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals” at the CasaBlanca Showroom on April 23. The finish was symbolic of the high note the symphony set for the season.

The theme for the concert, led by Dr. Selmer Spitzer, was “Desert in Bloom” and featured organ soloist Amy Homer-Smith.

Over 60 volunteers including active professional musicians, retired musicians and school-age musical students participated in the symphony during the 2016 season.

Concert attendees were greeted by strolling violinist Barry Bowers who in addition to being a professional musician is the manager of a local men’s league softball team.

The program was as usual varied and designed to please all the audience. Highlights included the “Procession of the Sardar” by Ippolitov-Ivanov and “American in Paris Suite,” by George Gershwin. As narrator Jim Dick explained, Ippolitov-Ivanov is “something of a one-hit wonder.” While few know the name of the piece, the melody is familiar.

George Gershwin is of course, one of the most famous American composers of the twentieth century, and is known throughout the world. The score of the suite was based on a trip to Paris that Gershwin took to musically capture the sounds of the city. Dick told the audience that when the piece was first played Gershwin used an actual Paris taxi horn as part of the performance. While the symphony didn’t have a taxi horn they made the complicated suite come alive.

The program also included selections from Franz Schubert, Gigout, Rimsky-Korsakov and van Beethoven.

The addition of assigned seating for the concert was a welcome change. In previous years, having few reserved seats and the majority of open seating resulted in long lines, sometimes requiring a wait of over an hour inside the casino.

The progress of the Southern Nevada Symphony during the last three seasons is outstanding. Mesquite is justly proud that the symphony calls our area home, and the community looks forward to season four.