Hastings Symphony Orchestra to open 96th season

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:42 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Hastings Symphony Orchestra will kick off their 96th season with a free concert at Chautauqua Park on Sunday, one year after their last performance.

Jim Stephenson’s “Fanfare for Democracy”, has been commissioned by an orchestra representing each state from the United States. The Hastings Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Byron Jensen, represents Nebraska in this commissioning project.

The National Symphony, representing the nations’ capitol, has signed on as well. “Fanfare for Democracy” was originally premiered by “The President’s Own” US Marine Band.

Other orchestras involved include the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, San Diego Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, symphonies from Utah, Houston and Charleston, and festivals in New Hampshire and the Grand Tetons, also included is the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

From composer Jim Stephenson: “I’m incredibly thankful to fellow musicians, colleagues, friends, and people I don’t even know, who stepped up to support this wild idea of having an orchestra from each state represent this new fanfare. I’ve always been a believer that the United States is full of good people, and this only confirms that notion.” Stephenson goes on further to say: “It’s amazing that a musical idea that popped into my head shortly after the November election will now be heard by thousands of people across the country, all gathered to celebrate American music and the ideology of our country.”

Dr. Jensen notes that the opportunity to participate in this event evolved from a conversation with his colleague, Dr. Louie Eckhardt (principal trumpet with the HSO). “I thought that I was too late to get the HSO name onboard, so naturally I was delighted when Jim Stephenson reached out to me and said we were the ones. This is really exciting to be involved with something musically special in the life of America.”

Jim Stephenson’s music has been commissioned/performed by ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony, St. Louis and Detroit Symphonies, L.A. Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, the San Francisco Ballet, the Boston and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, and other orchestras/soloists/choruses/bands around the world.

“Fanfare for Democracy” will be performed on September 12 when the Hastings Symphony opens their ninety-sixth season at Chautauqua Park. That concert is dedicated to our Nation, State, and community, with special recognition for the heroes who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe and focused. “Traditionally, and appropriately,” notes Dr. Jensen, “we recognize heroes as those who are serving in the military and as emergency first-responders. Events from this past year have made us realize that heroes also includes medical personnel and educators. This concert is about our collective strengths and perseverance.”

Other selections on the September 12 include guest vocalist, Kaitlynn Schreiner singing “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, Variations on “America” featuring the Cathedral Brass Quintet, “Summon the Heroes” by John Williams, and “Armed Forces Salute.” The 3:00 PM concert at Chautauqua Park is free to the all audience members; people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs to the concert.

For more information on “A Season of Welcomes, the HSO’s 96th Season,” go to or call (402) 469-9396.

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