Tupelo Symphony Orchestra presents powerful night of history and music

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

From a peek into a bleak part of American history to an appreciation of nature, the upcoming Tupelo Symphony Orchestra’s concert is one full of American music.
All of the pieces in the upcoming TSO concert were written by American composers, each with an entirely different theme in mind.
The highlight is Michael Daugherty’s “Trail of Tears,” a piece that puts one of America’s darkest times into music.
“He’s created a piece that’s electrifyingly gripping,” said Steven Byess, conductor.
The piece ranges from the Native Americans’ love for their open fields, to their removal, to a fiery sun dance at the end.
“Trail of Tears” was written for flutist Amy Porter, and she’ll perform with the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra.
“There are some heart-wrenching melodies and beautiful melodies,” Porter said. “The flute is an ancient instrument, so it’s a very, very kind of natural voice beyond the human voice.”
Byess is also working with members of the Cherokee Nation so they can speak about the history of the Trail of Tears at the concert.
The evening also includes Richard Meyer’s “Of Glorious Plumage,” which is a musical love letter to birds and their vibrant plumage.
“It’s a very folksy work,” Byess said. “It’s strings only, but it delivers a huge variety of colors and sound and evokes the idea of a glorious plumage.”
The appreciation for birds continues in Charles T. Griffes’ “The White Peacock.”
“(Griffes) was inspired by a white peacock he saw at the Berlin Zoo. In the splendor of the springtime you see all the colors, and then you see this bird whose plumage is made of a single color, and it was extraordinary to him,” Byess said. “The sound falls over like a fountain.”
Closing the evening is the classic “Appalachian Spring,” by Aaron Copland. The beloved piece tells the story of young newlyweds.
“(Copland) seems to have a stamp of ‘Made in the USA’ in his music,” Byess said.
From the American spirit to nature to the Trail of Tears, the intense and dramatic music makes for a powerful program.
“It’s really an outstanding program that links music and culture and history in the most wonderfully integrated way,” Byess said. “This is one of the most dynamically connected concerts. It’s everything about who we are and where we’ve been, and it could open some doors for understanding the future.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Check it Out
What: TSO presents “Trail of Tears”

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28

Where: Link Centre Concert Hall

Cost: $20/adult, $10/student

Info: (662) 842-8433 or tupelosymphony.com