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The music lingered in the air as the Rockbridge Symphony unfolded its 2023-24 season with a mesmerizing concert on Saturday, November 18, at the Lexington Presbyterian Church. With a repertoire encompassing crowd favorites and a commitment to inclusivity, the symphony set the stage for an unforgettable evening.

The concert featured an eclectic selection of timeless classics, including Brahms’ enchanting “Hungarian Dance numbers 5 and 6,” Grieg’s evocative “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen,” and Mussorgsky’s majestic “Great Gate of Kiev.” Adding a touch of virtuosity, Concertmaster Nonie Reesor took center stage as the guest soloist, casting a spell with Ravel’s rhapsodic masterpiece, “Tzigane,” which premiered in London in 1924. This solo marked Reesor’s last performance with the orchestra before moving out of state.

Building on the positive feedback from the previous fall’s opening concert, the Rockbridge Symphony once again embraced a “sensory-friendly” approach in collaboration with the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board. Recognizing the diverse needs of their audience, the symphony aimed to create a safe and comfortable space for everyone, including those with special sensory processing requirements. President Jack Bissett emphasized the success of this initiative, dispelling concerns about disruption and highlighting the positive impact on concertgoers. “A sensory-friendly atmosphere sends the message to all interested concertgoers that they are welcome,” he remarked.

Dr. Yi-Ping Chen, Rockbridge Symphony Music Director, expressed excitement about the partnership with Rockbridge Area Community Services, stating, “We are thrilled to have the companionship of Rockbridge Area Community Services to bring back the sensory-friendly concert this November.”

The Rockbridge Symphony is looking forward to two more captivating performances this season: the first, scheduled for February 24 at Washington and Lee University’s Wilson Hall, a “Pops and Dance” concert featuring dance music that the orchestra hopes will inspire audience members to get up and move; and the last on May 4 at Lexington Presbyterian Church, featuring the grand finale with Tchaikovsky’s monumental “Symphony No. 4.”