LIMA — Saturday kicked off a new beginning for the Lima Symphony Orchestra in what they, and their audience, hope to be a program that truly captures the essence of the community.
Nadège Foofat was the first conductor of the new season with her program “Songs for Our New World.” The program kicked off with a five-minute video of Foofat discussing her background, picture for the Lima Symphony Orchestra and her selections for the night.
Foofat started with Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral.” Higdon received her bachelor’s degree in music from Bowling Green State University, a detail that did not go unnoticed by the audience. That local touch is exactly the direction the orchestra is hoping to move toward.
“Much of this music, for the most part, was written 200 years ago in Western Europe by white men, and that isn’t incredibly relevant to a lot of people in our community anymore,” orchestra Executive Director Elizabeth Brown-Ellis said. “We need to be more representative of our community members, we need to bring them into our hall, but first we need to get out there and show them we are doing something different and really interested in relating to people no matter where they are, no matter what their background is and no matter what their association to classical music is.”
Father Kent Kaufman, of Lima’s St. Charles Catholic Church, is part of the orchestra chorus from time to time, and he said he is interested to see what each conductor’s program will look like.
“It’s a tightrope in terms of the programming because you want enough of the old favorites that people recognize. People tend to enjoy what they know, but you can’t just do the same old stuff all the time,” Kaufman explained. “Other places I’ve been, I’ve appreciated those music directors who broadened my taste, my knowledge of what’s out there musically, so I’m hoping this year will have a lot of that and whichever candidate is successful will continue that.”
Despite being just 12 years old, Sophia Kauffman, of Bluffton, is an orchestra regular. Her parents have held season tickets the past few years. At intermission, Kauffman was physically jumping with excitement about what she saw.
In terms of what she specifically enjoyed, she said “everything,” but especially her unique choice in music and the soloist, Jeremiah Sanders. Heading into the season, Foofat was Kauffman’s early favorite, and she said the first half of the performance sealed it for her.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511