Fort Worth Symphony performed at Graham Memorial Auditorium
As I listened to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra play Feb. 15, at the Graham Memorial Auditorium, it dawned on me that I had never heard a symphony orchestra play in person. I have been to musicals and ballets where a small orchestra played in the pit below the stage, but this was my first full symphony experience. It will not be my last.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performs about 200 concerts per year. They regularly perform at the Bass Symphony Hall in Fort Worth, which is one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world. However, they also do “run out” concerts to various locations around the metroplex; This gives those who might not venture to Fort Worth to hear a symphony a chance to be exposed to world-class musicians playing the finest music ever composed.
The orchestra was led by Alex Amsel, who conducts their educational programs. The audience was treated to Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Grieg’s Suite No. 1 from Geer Gynt, and a four-movement Rimsky-Korsakov piece entitled Scheherazade.
The Forth Worth Symphony Orchestra has a budget of about $13 million a year. Most of that is given through private donations. To some, it might seem an extravagant expense to fund a large musical group when there are so many pressing issues in the world. Should I have the luxury of hearing a symphony when others in the world do not have clean water to drink? These are questions with which we should wrestle. However, it is important to have things like orchestras and art museums to remind us of our status as God’s special creation. Psalm 8 tells us the Lord has made us just a little lower than the angels. When we see the ugly things in this world, like oppression, human trafficking, threats of war and genocide, it is tempting to forget who we are. Yet, sitting in that auditorium the other night, I was reminded of the privilege we have as the children of God to love beauty and to create it. We aren’t mere animals; we are image-bearers of God who have been given the task to rule, fill and subdue this earth. That beauty may take the form of a viola, hewn from a piece of ordinary wood and shaped into an instrument that produces heavenly sounds. Alternatively, beauty may take the form of a community raising funds to dig a water well in an impoverished community. Either way, we abandon the pursuit of beautiful things to our own peril. I appreciate the concert organizers Tuesday providing the opportunity for us to hear the orchestra.