Swiggart excited about Community Orchestra concert

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Carroll County Community Orchestra director Jim Swiggart looks up as he points to brass for their entry during a recent orchestra rehearsal.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

Local musicians of all ages will play together at the Carroll County Community Orchestra’s spring concert.

The concert is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, in the Eureka Springs City Auditorium. It will feature the following pieces and arrangements: “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Military Escort,” “Londonderry Air,” “Colors of the Wind,” “English Folk Song Suite,” “Disney Film Favorites,” “Africa,” “American Folk Rhapsody No. 1,” “The Bare Necessities,” “Malagueña,” “The Best of Henry Mancini” and “Semper Fidelis.”

Conductor Jim Swiggart said he’s excited about the performance.

“This particular concert has a real purpose to it. It’s a portrait of America,” Swiggart said. “We’re going to perform the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead of people saying it, it’ll be sung.”

Swiggart reflected on his first year as the conductor of the orchestra, saying he agreed to serve in the position to give the young people of Carroll County a chance to perform outside of their schools’ music programs.

“It was my vision of helping the public schools of Alpena, Berryville, Green Forest and Eureka Springs. We’re providing the extra experience of performing that most counties do not give to the students that live in those counties,” Swiggart said. “I’m a music educator, and it’s very near and dear to my heart. I want to make sure kids can do these things.”

The idea, Swiggart said, is to unite musicians young and old throughout the county. He said some adult musicians are performing in the orchestra for the first time this year.

“We didn’t have a lot of publicity in the past, and a lot of adults who live here missed a golden opportunity to get back to playing an instrument,” Swiggart said.

It has been rewarding, he said, to see the orchestra come together for the spring concert.

“You can’t imagine what it is to express your music while interacting with different generations. It just resonates your entire body and your mind,” Swiggart said. “It’s a very high level of teamwork, and it’s very good for students to experience that and strive for perfection.”

He added, “We have a very good group of kids from all the schools. The most important thing is knowing Carroll County is behind music and art for their students. This concert is about raising awareness.”

Swiggart said he’s enjoyed working with everyone in the group.

“Every night, you’re taking these people and you’re molding them into the concepts of this particular piece and to see them do that is really good. … It’s like an aha moment,” Swiggart said. “They’re just playing their horn and, all of a sudden, their horn blends in with someone else’s. It’s a really magic feeling.”

Local organizations and individuals can support the orchestra by donating to the concert. There are several levels of support, including $500 for the concert underwriter level, $200 for the gold level, $100 for the silver level, $50 for the bronze level and $25 for the music lover level.

For those who want to purchase individual tickets, it will cost $10 for adults and $5 for students. The tickets will be available at The Auditorium on the day of the concert and can be bought from a member of the orchestra before then.

Swiggart encouraged everyone who can attend the show to do so.

“Seeing kids playing music they never played at public schools …it’s been an exciting time. I think the main thing is the satisfaction of seeing people accomplish something and knowing that they’ll remember this for a long time,” Swiggart said. “Hopefully, this will be the beginning of bigger and better things.”

For more information on the concert or to donate to it, contact Swiggart at 479–981-2659 or Gray Squires at 870-423-6115.

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