Orchestra opens new season

It has been 200 years since the death of the great composer Haydn, and we are still thrilling to his music. To honor this master musician, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will launch its 2009-10 season at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 with a special concert titled "Homage to Franz Joseph Haydn." The concert will be held at the Northview High School Theatre located at 10625 Parsons Road in Johns Creek.

The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra began in April 2007 and is a Georgia nonprofit organization. It is a professional orchestra, made up of 45 musicians from around the greater Atlanta area. The idea of the group came into being as its music director and conductor J. Wayne Baughman was conducting a concert.

"During a performance of Handel's 'Messiah,' it occurred to me that this community could support a part-time professional orchestra at some point in the future," Baughman said. "That point in time was Dec. 7, 2006, when St. Benedict Church hosted its first Christmas Gala Concert with an orchestra made up of future JCSO musicians. Four months later, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra was incorporated and in September 2007 launched its first concert season."

This year the JCSO will present four concerts beginning with the first, "Homage to Franz Joseph Haydn." This concert will also include the Archdiocesan Festival Choir of Atlanta, and Baughman is also principal conductor. Other dates for concerts include Dec. 5 and again in February and May with specific dates to be determined.

Baughman has a long and distinguished history in the Atlanta classical music community. He arrived in Atlanta in 1974 and immediately became involved with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He remained involved for 25 years as a frequent vocalist and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw. In 1990, as a bass soloist, he shared a Grammy Award for the Telarc recording of "Belshazzar's Feast" by Walton and "Chichester Psalms" by Bernstein with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Among the works to be performed on Oct. 24 are Haydn's Symphony No. 104, "The London" and the "Harmoniemesse," or Mass No. 14.

"The JCSO, with guest soloists and the Archdiocesan Festival Choir of Atlanta, will pay tribute to the Austrian master with performances of his final symphony, No. 104, and his final Mass, No. 14," Baughman said. "Both of these works were composed in the later years of Haydn's musically rich life and represent an artistic craftsman at the height of his creative powers."

Tickets are $28 for adults, $22 for seniors and $15 for students with student ID. Season tickets are also available at a 10 percent discount. Visit the Web site at www.johnscreeksymphony.org to order tickets and for more information.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.