A Night in Vienna: NASD String Orchestra waltzing over to Natchez Little Theater

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Natchez Adams School District and the Natchez Little Theater join forces to showcase NASD’s String Orchestra this Saturday, May 4, inside the theater on Linton Avenue.

The show starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

The director of the stringed orchestra Monquez Ford said students have been preparing for this performance, which will be about an hour long and include six to eight pieces, since January.

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“We’ll be playing some very famous Viennese artists such as Shubert, Mozart, Beethoven and some of their most famous works,” Ford said. “It will include a lot of waltzes because that is what Vienna is most famous for.”

The 11 students in NASD’s string orchestra have spent 18 hours or more every week at practice.

They are Alexis Mazique, Devin Bailey, Kira Singleton, Theron Blalock, Mikeyah Amos, Cameron Allen, Jazlyn Proby, Kierstyn Warner, Thomas Kadin Dennis, Daniel Mathany and Breylen Shannon.

“They are a delight to work with and I’m blessed to be able to work with them. They’re a very talented group of individuals,” he said. “This show will be a culmination of all the hard work and dedication of some of NASD’s most talented students. Be prepared for a magnificent treat.”

Ford said Natchez Adams School District is fortunate to be one of few public school systems in the state with a string orchestra program provided free to students, instruments included.

NASD’s program started in 2002 and some of the students currently involved have been playing for two years, he said.

While it is free for the public to attend, Natchez Little Theatre will be taking donations to the string orchestra program, he said.

These funds will be used for expenses such as purchasing music for future shows, instrument accessories, instrument repair, maintenance and upkeep of the instruments, he said.

“Playing any instrument is expensive and playing a string instrument has its unique expenditures,” Ford said.

Ford, a Jackson native, received his degree in Music Education from Jackson State University with an emphasis on instrumental music. His specialty is the viola, he said. Ford has played abroad as a part of music festivals and has participated in festivals throughout Mississippi. Currently, he plays as a member of the First Baptist Church of Jackson Orchestra.