Debbie Williamson will conduct her final concert with the Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the Plymouth High School auditorium.
Williamson is a well-known musician in the Sheboygan area, serving as both the concertmaster of the Sheboygan Symphony for 34 years and conductor of the Concert Orchestra of the Youth Symphony for 18 years.
Williamson, who founded the Youth Symphony 33 years ago, is retiring at the end of this season. She was also instrumental in expanding the Youth Symphony program to include two orchestras. The second orchestra, Sinfonia, was created three years ago to include younger students.
Sunday's concert will begin with a performance by Sinfonia, conducted by Susan Zeuske, followed by the 80-member Concert Orchestra.
Sinfonia will perform four diverse pieces, including "Engines of Resistance," by Larry Clark; Edvard Grieg's "Norwegian Dances Nos. 2 & 3"; and "River Songs," arranged by Douglas Wagner.
Sinfonia's portion of the program will conclude with selections from the suite "The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey," by Howard Shore.
The Concert Orchestra, conducted by Debbie Williamson, will take the stage for the second half of the program. They will open their performance with the lively "Bacchanale," which is an energetic philistine dance from the final scene of the opera "Samson and Delila," by Saint-Saens.
The winner of the Sinfonia Young Artist Competition, Griffin Montes, will perform "Concertino in Hungarian Style" by Oskar Rieding as a soloist with the Concert Orchestra. Griffin, who's a violinist, is a fourth-grade student at Kohler Elementary School.
The Concert Orchestra portion of the program will also include a Sextet for Percussion Ensemble, titled "Mosaics," by Jared Spears, featuring the percussion section of the orchestra. Other works that will be performed by the Concert Orchestra include "Flight of Valor," by James Swearington; "Variations on a Shaker Melody" from "Appalachian Spring," by Aaron Copland; and "Chicago," by John Kander; which recalls tunes back to the early jazz, rhythm and blues age, and incorporates the raucous style of gangster-era Chicago.
The Concert Orchestra will close the program with "Blue Harbor Dawn and Celebration," composed by Sheboygan-based composer Wayne Wildman.
This piece was commissioned by the Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony for the final concert of the 2006-07 season to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the orchestra. The work was premiered and conducted by Williamson at that special anniversary celebration.
Williamson believes this concert will give the audience a taste of the musical talent in the Sheboygan area. It is also a legacy for those that follow.
"This will be a difficult transition for me, leaving the Youth Symphony. It has been such a huge part of my life. We have so many talented young musicians in this area and I love making music with them," Williamson said.
Having taught strings in the Sheboygan area at both the elementary and high school levels for many years, as well as at Lakeland College, Williamson is well-known in the music community.
She was also the founder of the Sheboygan Symphony String Quartet, which performed at hundreds of weddings, dinners and other occasions for more than 20 years.
She has organized and taken the Youth Symphony on three successful concert performing trips to the East Coast, is a certified instructor of the Suzuki method and maintains a home studio for private string instruction. She also frequently serves as an adjudicator at the Wisconsin School Music Association State and District music festivals.
The Youth Symphony plans to celebrate Williamson's retirement by holding a free ice cream social following the concert, to all those in attendance on Sunday.
General admission to the performance is $10. Students and seniors are $6 and children under 5 are free. Tickets are available at the door.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sheboygansymphony.org