Cellist, Christian Martinez, is one of the several high school students who show exceptional musical talent and helps contribute to the overall success of the SNSO. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

When the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra first put out the word of their development and their search for participants, the response was outstanding with more than 50 people expressing an interest.

Their first rehearsal was held on Oct. 17, 2014. They held their first concert, just a month later, on Nov. 22, 2014. Concerts were originally held at the Mesquite Community Theatre, which they quickly outgrew considering the number of people who sought tickets to the performances. The first concert included about 50 members. Now the symphony has more than 60 members, several of them much younger than one would expect.

Selmer Spitzer, director and founder of the SNSO, is always on the lookout for new blood and doesn’t mind including those who have exceptional musical talents, even if they are much younger than most orchestra participants. The SNSO features many students from the Virgin Valley.

Entering into their fourth concert season, on Saturday, Feb. 24, the SNSO featured two local, professional performers.

Tami Sillitoe was meant to play the oboe but in the sixth grade she played the flute. It took her a year to convince her grandparents to let her switch to the oboe but once she did, she never looked back. Sillitoe has been playing for 22 years and currently plays with the Washington City Concert Band as well as the SNSO.

Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducts the opening number of the SNSO’s fourth concert year to a sold out house on Saturday, Feb. 24. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Barry Bowers grew up in Reno, attended the University of Nevada Reno and obtained a master’s degree in music. Bowers, along with wife, Sonja, have called Mesquite their home for the past six years and Bowers has found his home with the SNSO as well as the Cliffrose String Quartet, a chamber music group made up of musicians from the Mesquite and Moapa Valley areas.

Together this group of talented musicians performed pieces from various composers including Phillip Parker, Franz Josef Haydn and Tchaikovsky along with selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story in honor of Bernstein’s 100 birth year.

The SNSO would like to thank their audiences for helping them keep the SNSO alive in southern Nevada. They continue to look forward to presenting quality music to residents of Mesquite and the surrounding areas for years in the future.