Harp Conductor

Soprano Haley Dove Montoya will sing the aria from Bernstein’s Candide at the opening concert for Symphony of the Hills on October 11. Photos by Phil Houseal

Aug 2, 2018–Spotlight Feature

Kerrville’s Symphony of the Hills has announced the concerts for the 2018-2019 season, and according to Dr. Eugene Dowdy, Conductor and Artistic Director, every one is a highlight.

“We only get to do five concerts per year, so there is no reason to compromise on quality,” Dowdy said. “Every piece, every movement, every single note played should be a fantastic experience for both the audience and the musicians. We have a special clientele and the opportunity to make our concerts everything they should be.”

This assessment is more than wishful thinking. The board conducted extensive surveys of listeners and musicians, and the results unequivocally highlighted the depth of appreciation the community holds for the 75-piece orchestra.

“By every measure they love the orchestra,” Dowdy said. “They also said, ‘let’s not forget the mission. We are a symphony, so let’s do important, wonderful, accessible works that bring the symphony to life in the Hill Country.”

Dowdy has seen the quality grow as he enters his fourth season as Conductor, a role he stepped into following the tenure of Dr. Jay Dunnahoo, who passed away recently.

“I am building on the wonderful foundation of Jay’s in growing the orchestra,” Dowdy said. “By every measure I feel we are approaching the ‘holy grail’ this season, with the beautiful symbiosis of artistic excellence and works of orchestral significance. Every concert will be a thing of beauty.”

The orchestra presents five concerts between October and April, inside Kerrville’s Cailloux Theater. Ticket sales for individual concerts begin Sept 1 and continue as long as seats remain available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.symphonyofthehills.org, by calling (830) 792-7469, or at the Cailloux Theater box office.

Dowdy described the musical highlights of each concert:


Soprano Haley Dove Montoya will sing the aria from Bernstein’s Candide at the opening concert for Symphony of the Hills on October 11. Photo by Phil Houseal

October 11, 2018–Mozart to Bernstein: A Legacy

“This concert combines a work by the most important composer in American history on his 100th birthday–Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, with one of Mozart’s greatest symphonic achievements–Symphony No. 40 in G Minor. We will also present The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten, an acclaimed masterwork of the orchestral repertoire.”

December 6, 2018–Peace On Earth: Holiday Music for the Hill Country

“What Finzi does with In Terra Pax is so remarkable. It is an orchestral work with choir, that takes St. Luke’s Gospel narrative about Christmas and combines it with incredible poetry by Robert Bridges. It evokes ‘peace on earth,’ and what a message we need to celebrate once a year. With a vocal soloist, full symphony, and full chorus, this promises to be an incredible concert.

Everyone will recognize the Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky drew out a suite of movements from the ballet, so it’s almost like a highlight reel.

There will be a little of everything at this concert, including the popular sing-along.”

January 5, 2019–The Fabulous 50s: Romance to Rock ‘n’ Roll

“The Fabulous 50s is the perfect theme for the Pops Concert. It was a great decade of prosperity, new possibilities, and new music. Composers in all genres rushed to take advantage of that. So we’ll have ‘feel good’ love songs, rhythm and blues, country, and rock and roll, iconic musicals, movie scores, and even TV themes. It’s going to be a very special event.”

February 28, 2019–A New World: Classical Music Lands in America

“When we announced the program for this concert, everyone in the orchestra said Dvorak’s New World Symphony was their favorite piece to play. Pairing it with the beautiful Clarinet Concerto by America’s favorite composer Aaron Copland, this orchestra will knock it out of the park.”

April 25, 2019–Music For All Time: To Everything There Is A Season

Happy Birthday! The wonderful pops composer John Williams wrote an incredible variation on this familiar tune, and the piece is spectacular! Another highlight of this concert is Elegy for Cello and Orchestra by Fauré, along with works by Stravinsky, Ives, and Piano Concerto No. 3 by Prokofiev.”

Again this season, the Symphony will feature soloists from within its ranks.

Don Crandall

Dr. Don Crandall will perform the piano solo on Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 for the Symphony’s April concert, Music For All Time. Photo by Phil Houseal

Schreiner University Professor of Music Dr. Don Crandall will perform the piano solo on Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Principal Clarinetist Tamara Ratz takes on the clarinet solo on Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, and soprano Haley Dove Montoya sings the aria from Bernstein’s Candide.

“I think it is important to raise up the world class musicians in our own community,” Dowdy said. “Haley Dove Montoya a top tier soprano whose singing is spellbinding. Dr. Don Crandall is a fantastic concert pianist, and Tamera Ratz is an artist on the clarinet. And we’ll have Michael Kahl returning as Director of the Grand Chorus for the holiday concert. He always does such a brilliant job with that.”

Whether one is a regular attendee or has never bought a concert ticket, Dowdy believes this will be a great season to experience the Symphony of the Hills

“Every concert is going to top the meter on enjoyment and artistic excellence,” he said. “The preponderance of positive feedback from the community gives us lots of confidence in our ongoing drive for artistic quality. I am so excited for this season!”


While the exclusive window for Patron Level seating ended July 31, Patron and Subscriber level seating options will continue to be offered until the first concert. Seats for individual concerts will be available to the public beginning September 1, so anyone desiring best season ticket seat selection is encouraged to sign up before that date.
Visit www.symphonyofthehills.org, call (830) 792-7469, or email info@symphonyofthehills.org.

The Symphony of the Hills is a 75-piece orchestra of local and Hill Country area professional musicians and Schreiner University faculty and their advanced music students. The nonprofit organization is funded through season ticket sales, corporate and individual donations, grants and other assistance, and program advertising.