This Saturday, they officially turn 100 years old. The Flint Symphony Orchestra’s landmark 100th season comes to a close and WKAR’s Jamie Paisley went to Flint to speak with the Maestro who’s led them to the century mark.
"The grand finale is a Beethoven program." says Maestro Enrique Diemecke, proudly. He has led the Flint Symphony Orchestra for a little over a quarter of the FSO’s one hundred years. "with [Beethoven's] Choral Fantasy, and the Beethoven 9th Symphony. And I think it's a good way to come to a finale with the band. 100 years of making music and having a community that supports the arts and supports the orchestra for that many years. I think that's something to write about. Something to really cheer about and to celebrate."
As with any ensemble as long lived as the Flint Symphony, 100 years of musicians means a lot of alumni from Maestro Dimecke... "like a network of wonderful soloists." explains Diemecke "That we have them throughout this 30 years, then came back and they were young when they first started and now has matured. Professionals and soloists! So that really is a great moment to encounter. But about audiences, you know, audiences are really faithful to this supporting of the orchestra and the enjoyment of the concerts and that makes it really a wonderful place to be. Families and-- they had their children coming when they were kids. They had their children going away abroad, marrying, or studying, and then sometimes occasionally they come back and they came to the concerts. And they all seem to always remember how wonderful it was to hear the orchestra and how incredible the whole situation in this city is."
The Flint Symphony Orchestra is under the umbrella of the Flint Institute of Music. To Maestro Diemecke, it is that pathway gives the Flint Symphony an opportunity to engage with Flint’s community as well as the civic leaders. "All the forces together are being the secret of the success of this orchestra. Having this understanding that we also are with education and we are connecting with the community. [It] really makes it the appealing part that not many organizations have. They are orchestras and they just do their thing. No, we are connected with this institute and that makes it more important to everyone."
While the Flint Symphony finishes their 100th season this Saturday night at the Whiting in Flint Maestro Diemecke and the FSO are not resting on their laurels. They’ve just announced their next season, wisely titled “The Second Century.” And just as the 100th season ends this Saturday with Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, this 101st season starts at the very beginning.
"We are starting with the Alexander Borodin from the Polovtsian Dances, an overture, and then we are also doing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, the favorite one, Number 1, and then we have Johannes Brahms' First Symphony. So that's all first, first, first, first!" But we’ll have to check in with Maestro Diemeck in October for more about that concert. For now, you can join in the Grand Finale of the Flint Symphony Orchestra’s 100th season this Saturday night, 7:30 at The Whiting in Flint. More info at TheFSO.org