East Texas Symphony Orchestra presents its "Musical Fireworks" concert at 7:30 p.m. March 19 at The University

of Texas at Tyler's Cowan


The concert will feature Principal Trombonist Efrain Sain and guest artist violinist Elissa Lee, the sister of Maestro and Musical Director Richard Lee.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph recently caught up with Maestro Lee who offered this preview of the concert.

Q: Your sister, Elissa, will be a guest soloist. What was the family dynamics growing up with you and your sister?

A: She is five years younger but we started on the violin at the same time. It did not take her long to overtake me in terms of violin ability, thus making the dynamic pretty awkward. Growing up, we played a lot of chamber music, duets and quartets and the like.

Q: You are continuing to highlight ETSO's musicians in featured roles. How will the Trombone Concert by Wagensail showcase Efrain Sain's talents?

A: We have very strong musicians in the orchestra and, of course, there are lots of solos within most orchestral works but playing a sustained and often very challenging solo while standing at the front of the stage is a completely different experience.

Everyone wins. The musician has a rare solo opportunity, the public hears the musician in a different context (in this case, a trombone concerto! How rare is that?) and long-term, the intense preparation makes the musician better, thus making the orchestra better as a whole.

Q: The orchestra is also performing with ensembles from The University of Texas at Tyler. What is the challenge of combining profession musicians with students?

A: It is a little challenging, but not for the reasons that you think. It is really more logistical. There isn't a lot of time for me to work with the students before the concert, but I know they've been working on the pieces for an extended period of time now. We have four rehearsals, starting on the Wednesday before (the concert)! Also, fitting a concert band into an orchestral setup is a bit tricky, too.

The difference in ability is what makes these collaborative performances interesting. I hope the students will take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the pros sitting around them and that the pros take the time to answer questions and give pointers when appropriate.

Q: This concert is being presented under the title "Musical Fireworks." Why is that an appropriate title for the program? 

A: Most of the works have a flashy, technically challenging sections; or are the soloists featured the fireworks here? However one interprets the metaphor, it is apt.

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