Crowds celebrate Meyerson Symphony Center’s 25th anniversary

 

The Meyerson Symphony Center’s weeklong celebration of its 25th anniversary kicked off Saturday morning with a party favorite: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The Mighty Mustang Band from J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson marched — and sometimes danced — from One Arts Plaza down Flora Street blaring the hit song for parents, Meyerson staff and visitors. A medley of Billy Joel hits followed, along with a showcase of the percussion section.

“Basically we’re just really, really excited to have everyone here,” said Debi Peña, the vice president of people and facilities at the Meyerson. She helped organize Saturday’s kickoff party and was on hand to greet visitors who had come for the festivities, set 25 years to the day from when the building opened.

Additional events are scheduled throughout the week, including concerts from the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the Dallas Symphony Chorus with organist Mary Preston.

Kids and their parents roamed throughout the Meyerson on Saturday, learning about musical instruments, getting tours of the building’s acoustics and identifying architectural details.

The all-day event also featured performances from organizations with ties to the Meyerson: the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Avant Chamber Ballet and the Dallas Winds Saxophone Quartet. The J.J. Pearce band, leading the celebration, also has ties to the Meyerson.

“J.J. Pearce, a lot of people might not know, was the first high school to play in the Meyerson, which is why they were selected,” Peña said.

Classical station WRR-FM (101.1) host Nancy Brunson was the master of ceremonies for the day’s concerts and called the Meyerson “a world-class venue for a world-class orchestra.”

“We are so happy that you are joining with us this morning as we celebrate the 25th birthday of our beautiful Meyerson Symphony Center,” she told the small crowd who gathered to watch the DSO and new assistant conductor Karina Canellakis perform Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube waltz.

The performances brought out dozens of Dallas-Fort Worth-area residents, including Lucas resident Simon Dalley, his wife, Miki, and 9-year-old daughter Ayana.

“We love music,” Simon Dalley said. “We live too far away to come often to see the DSO, so this is a good opportunity.”

Dallas resident Lynne Dedmon has been a longtime subscriber to events at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Her son was also part of the first celebration 25 years ago through the J.J. Pearce band. She said Saturday’s festivities brought back a lot of memories.

“We love this facility,” she said. “It’s the best.”

Peña said the building has had a real impact on the people of Dallas and the people who built it.

“It has really come to mean a lot,” she said. “I have gotten to know the people who were really strategic in getting this building built, and I see tears in the eyes of Joe Walker who was the head of the construction company that built this building. Just knowing, really, the love, the passion, the concern that went into building this building, it makes it even that much more special.”

Originally appeared on September 6, 2014 in the Dallas News.

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