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NFSO Symphony Concert on February 19 Showcases Stars of Tomorrow

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


Chester Schmitz
Chester Schmitz

2/4/2010 - The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra will perform in concert on February 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. The "Stars of Tomorrow" family concert features the top winners of the prestigious 23rd annual Concerto Competition as guest artists as well as special guest soloist Chester Schmitz, former principal tuba player with the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra for 35 years The concert is sponsored by Merrill Lynch The McGovern Group.

The NFSO is particularly pleased to present special guest soloist tubist Chester Schmitz performing George Kleinsinger's delightful work for tuba, narrator and orchestra Tubby the Tuba. Schmitz was the principal tuba player of the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra for 35 years and was the original "Tubby". Narrating the piece will be NFSO founding conductor John Leatherwood. In 1985, Schmitz gave the premiere performance of John Williams' "Tuba Concerto," which was personally composed for Schmitz to perform at the Boston Pops' 100th anniversary. Schmitz is credited with popularizing the "Jabba the Hutt Solo," which was also composed by John Williams, Grammy and Academy award-winning composer of such noted film scores including Jaws and Indiana Jones. This solo was a mini-concerto originally composed as "Jabba's Theme" for the recurring musical theme of the "Star Wars" movies.

Jeffrey Rink, the NFSO's music conductor & director, said that the February 19 concert is "a varied program of choral, solo and instrumental music. The entire family will enjoy hearing this evening of great music as well as celebrate and honor the musical accomplishments of Northwest Florida's young people."

The concert also features Rossini's famous William Tell Overture as well as a selection performed by the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Liz Aylor. The NFSO will also be joined by The Niceville Singers of Niceville High School performing the exciting Coronation Anthem of George Fredric Handel "Let thy Hand be Strengthened".

The second half of the concert features the two winners of the NFSO's regional Concerto Competition; Junior Division winner Kelly Wu and High School Division Winner Samantha Horn. Wu is a fifth grade honors student at A.K. Suter Elementary in Pensacola and will be performing the first movement of Haydn's Piano Concerto in D major. Horn of Niceville is a senior at the Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College. An accomplished harpist, Samantha is also member of the Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra where she plays clarinet and bass clarinet. She will be performing the first movement of the Harp Concerto in A Major by Ditter von Dittersdorf. The college division winner Julian Toha, a graduate student at Florida State University, will perform a movement of a piano concerto with the NFSO next season.

The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Guild sponsors the annual Concerto Competition which is open to students of orchestral instruments, keyboard, and voice who are 23 years of age or younger. Students compete for prize money and the opportunity to play with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in a live concert.

Tickets for the "Stars of Tomorrow" NFSO concert are now available from the Mattie Kelly Arts Center box office for $22.50 each for adults and $16 each for youth age 18 or younger. As a special tribute to those who serve in the U.S. military, the NFSO is pleased to offer a discount ticket rate for active duty military of $16 per ticket to any NFSO concert for tickets purchased at-the-door by a military member showing ID. There is a four ticket limit per person for the military discount. Tickets are available in person, by phone at (850) 729-6000 or online from the box office website at or the symphony website at Tickets are also available at the door on the night of the concert starting at 6:00 p.m. Currently enrolled NWF State College students may receive one complimentary ticket per valid student ID, in person from the box office only. The NFSO season will come to an exciting close with "Magnificent Mozart" on April 10 with two of the most famous works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart including the Requiem in D minor featuring the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorus with a stellar quartet of vocal soloists. Tickets for the concert are also available now.

Established in 1987, the NFSO is the region's premiere professional orchestra and performs in residence at the Mattie Kelly Fine and Performing Arts Center in Niceville. A custom designed orchestra shell is used for each NFSO concert to provide an optimal acoustic experience for symphony patrons as the orchestra performs in the state-of-the-art main stage theater at the arts complex.

For additional information see the symphony's website at