Shoals Symphony Orchestra at UNA Celebrates 40th Anniversary

by Staff
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FLORENCE-The Shoals Symphony Orchestra (SSO) at the University of North Alabama (UNA) invites you to join them in celebrating the 40th Anniversary season. Looking back over the years, so many have contributed to the growth of the Symphony including patrons, musicians, staff and the University. The Shoals Symphony is excited to celebrate this anniversary and share music with the community with a packed 2022-2023 season that includes the acts Michael Bolton, Star Wars: A New Hope live to film, and even Cirque de la Symphonie a holiday event with aerial acrobats.


The SSO performs Disney’s The Little Mermaid live to film to a sold out crowd at Norton Auditorium April 30, 2022. Photo by Heather Miles

Rick Smith(on left) shaking hands with outgoing conductor Dr. Daniel Stevens(right). Photo by Heather Miles

“We are sure this is NOT what you think of when you hear the word symphony,” said Rick Smith, SSO Board President. “We purposely wanted to have a variety of events that would bring people who might not have ever been to the symphony before. To do that, we need to play music we have never played before.”


The 40th Anniversary season is made up of six main events held on UNA’s campus and three stand-alone events held at unique offsite locations. Shows will begin in August 2022 and run through May 2023.


Starting as small performances by local players, the SSO incorporated in 1982. Over the last 40 years it has grown and evolved into a professional regional orchestra and the fourth largest symphony orchestra in Alabama. This year they are seeing a record number of season ticket purchases with sales increasing 31% from the previous year.


Dr. Daniel Stevens Conducting – Photo by Shannon Wells

Symphonies tend to be classified into one of four different types: community, university, training or professional orchestras. But because the SSO is partnered with UNA they are unique in their structure and are able to serve multiple musical functions. The orchestra provides performance opportunities for both paid professional musicians, including UNA faculty, and scholarships to UNA music students. This remains consistent with the SSO’s mission to enhance the cultural life of all residents of the Shoals area through musical performances and educational programs.


Dr. Suren Petrosyan Appointed conductor for the 40th Anniversary Season

The SSO Board of Directors would like to thank outgoing Music Director and Conductor Dr. Daniel Stevens for sharing his vision, talent, expertise and leadership during the last eight years. The Board wishes Dr. Stevens great success in his new position as the Head of the Department of Music at Mississippi State University. The SSO and UNA would like to welcome the 2022-2023 Season conductor, Dr. Suren Petrosyan, who comes to the Shoals from Arkansas State University where he served as Director of Orchestral Activities and Instructor of Cello.


The Symphony invites all Shoals community families to enjoy their events. “I think it is very important that younger people attend symphony concerts. Too many children today think

Bassoonist for the SSO. Photo by Heather Miles

that they don’t like classical music and won’t even give it a try,” said Selwyn Jones, longtime SSO Bassoonist. “I feel that we as adults have a responsibility to develop a love for the arts in children as early as possible and help them to understand the joy that comes from a concert that they will remember for the rest of their lives! There is something magical about how music affects us all. The connection and chemistry between the conductor, the members of the orchestra and the audience is amazing!”


Now is the best time to choose your seats for all of these great performances. You can purchase season tickets or individual show tickets here or contact the SSO at 256-710-1623 or Join the SSO in celebrating their 40th Anniversary and grow the Shoals’ reputation for great music. This line up of shows should not be missed!


Media Release/Cain Yarbrough/Director of Development and Operations/ Shoals Symphony Orchestra

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