Toccoa Symphony Mardi Gras Gala this weekend - act fast! Tickets nearly sold out!

Enjoy New Orleans-inspired cuisine and jazz music while supporting the Toccoa Symphony Orchestra at the Mardi Gras Gala!​ Dine, Dance and have a blast at this black tie optional gala where Mardi Gras attire is encouraged​ and proceeds benefit the Toccoa Symphony Orchestra.

Not many small towns can boast their own symphony, but Toccoa has claimed that prestige for almost a half-century. Mrs. Pinkie Ware, a Toccoa resident and music teacher, was the inspiration, and the driving force, behind the creation of The Toccoa Symphony Orchestra. It was her love of music and her love of Toccoa, that brought life to her dream to fruition, and brought the benefits of symphonic music to Toccoa.

As the premier conductor of the orchestra, Archie Sharretts - then band director at the Stephens County High School - helped to grow the fledgling Orchestra from infancy, and his 25-year tenure was one of musical excellence and growth, according to TSO members and fans alike.

Conductor Wm. David Stufft took the baton and leadership of the TSO in 2001, and has helped to continue the growth and advancement of TSO for nearly two decades.

The Toccoa Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra of 50 - 60 talented musicians, and they perform three concerts per year, often featuring regional guests, instrumental soloists, and vocalists. Typically, the three concerts are offered in the spring and the winter, finishing with a classical Christmas concert.

In recent years, a fourth show - the Patriotic Pops outdoor concert scheduled near Independence Day at the Currahee Club, has become a local favorite.

The upcoming Winter Classical Music Concert, scheduled on March 8 at 4 p.m. at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center will feature all three movements of "Summer" -- from Vivaldi's "Seasons Concerti". Special guest and Eastman Conservatory trained violinist, Benjamin Kronk, joins the Orchestra for a chamber-style and "un-plugged" performance of this popular composition. The Orchestra will also perform Tchaikovsky's Symphony 6, movements 2 and 3.

Musicians from the Toccoa Symphony have recently formed a big band jazz group called the Toccoa JAZZ. The band is led by Wm. David Stufft.

Visit the Toccoa Symphony Orchestra website for more information or tickets.


Saturday, February 15

6 PM Social Hour / 7 PM Dinner ​

North Georgia Technical College Currahee Campus


the term orchestra simply means a group of instrumental musicians. That’s it! It can be used in any music genre. This is why we have groups known as the Brian Setzer Orchestra (big band) and the London Symphony Orchestra. Think of it as another word for group.

In classical music, the term “orchestra”, refers specifically to a group of musicians involving strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and (sometimes) choir. But again, it is important to understand that “orchestra”,  as a term, has no bearing on specific ensemble size or genre.

So does this mean a string quartet, string trio, or piano trio, are orchestras too? I’ll explain the term “chamber” in more detail in a moment, but these are examples of specialized ensembles that specify the blending of instrumental families. For example, a piano trio is an ensemble consisting of piano and two other instruments, usually a violin and a cello. So while you certainly could call them “orchestras”, they live more broadly under the category of “chamber music” or “chamber ensembles”.

Just to make things more complicated, “orchestra” also refers to a particular spot in the theatre where musicians perform on stage. This meaning comes from the Greek word ὀρχήστρα, which denotes the front part of a stage in ancient Greek theatres where Greek chorus’ would sing and dance. This is the meaning that concerts halls allude to when denoting main floor seating as “orchestra level seating”.

As for the terms “philharmonic” and “symphony”, both basically mean “harmonious music” and are used as namesakes to differentiate between different orchestras. For example, the “Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra”, “Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra” and the “Toronto Symphony Orchestra” are all “orchestras,” but to avoid being confused with each other, they came up with swanky names. In and of themselves they are meaningless.

Where things get confusing is that a “symphony” also refers to a special kind of orchestral composition that is formally structured in four movements, and includes a movement using the sonata form. The classical symphony is a complicated topic and deserves its own post, so I’ll save that for another day.

The term “chamber”, like orchestra, is basically an adjective that denotes the space in which the music was to be performed.  It comes from the French term chambre, meaning room.

In context, a chamber orchestra refers to an orchestra (a group of musicians) who play in rooms rather than full-sized concert halls. The acoustic limitations mean that chamber orchestras are smaller (up to 50 musicians) as opposed to a full orchestra (around 100). Of course, chamber orchestras can play in a concert hall, but a full orchestra would not be able to fit in a small room. The music between a chamber and full orchestra sounds very different due to the smaller number of instruments, orchestration, and acoustics of the performance space.



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