Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra’ celebrates 50 years
by Andrew Shilling
Mar 05, 2014 | 878 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra conductor Frank Verbsky
Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra conductor Frank Verbsky
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The Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra prepares for its March 9th performance.
The Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra prepares for its March 9th performance.
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Alan Chen rehearses with the orchestra last week.
Alan Chen rehearses with the orchestra last week.
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It is the 50th anniversary for the Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra, and on March 9 it will perform its first concert of the year at the Forest Hills Jewish Center, located at 106-06 Queens Blvd, at 2 p.m.

The group has practiced since late November for the performance of Mendelssohn’s “Music from Midsummer’s Night Dream,” Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dance Op. 46 #8,” Mozart’s “Symphony #39” and Carl Maria von Weber’s “Euryanthe Overture.”

Frank Verbsky first began playing cello with the Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra back in 1964. Four years later he took on the role of conductor, where he has been ever since.

“Many people have been around for quite a few years,” Verbsky said. “The problem of course is finding new players.”

The group has practiced at the center for the last 10 weeks in preparation for the March 9 performance.

“In one sense it’s some of the heavy orchestral pieces, but they’re more into the popular vein,” he said. “Turn on what little classical radio stations we have, and these are the things you’re going to hear. The audience likes it and we like playing it.”

Clarinetist Alan Chen has been with the group for the last four years and said he is always blown away by the dedication each member puts forth for every performance.

“Just playing the music is a good feeling,” Chen said. “He (Verbsky) does all the manuscripts. He gets the old music and he does all the parts, so he does a lot of work.”

Like many musicians in the group, Chen has played his instrument since he was a child and performing is his true passion in life.

“It’s one of the highlights of the week,” he said of the orchestra practices.

Tickets for the performance are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students, and are available by contacting the Forest Hills Symphony at (718) 374-1627 or (516) 785-2532.

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