By Ed Lewis

Chronicle contributor

The Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, a 30-piece orchestra of professional musicians from throughout East Tennessee, presented their inaugural performance Saturday, April 19, at the Fairfield Glade Community Church before an enthusiastic overflow crowd estimated at 435.

The band performed a wide variety of musical selections and received enthusiastic applause and several standing ovations. A survey completed by a majority of the attendees revealed several favorites.

Charles Decker, trumpet professor at Tennessee Tech University, was the guest conductor, replacing the band's director, Dr. Donald Ryder, who directs the University of Tennessee Symphonic and Marching Bands. Dr. Ryder could not attend due to a commitment to lead the UT band at the annual Orange and White spring football game at Neyland Stadium.

The survey forms indicated an extremely high level of enjoyment with the quality of the concert receiving almost a unanimous rating of 10. In response to "What did you like about the concert?" responses included "the variety of selections," "beautiful blend of instruments," "skill of the musicians," "the high quality, enthusiasm and professional performance of the musicians," and the number one response — "everything."

The band will present a second concert of new music selections at Fairfield Glade on Sunday, May 18, at 4 p.m., as part of the grand opening of the new Conference and Convention Center on Stonehenge Dr. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students/children and are available at the Glade Recreation office in the new conference center (484-3722) or First National Bank of Tennessee's office (484-2265). Seating will be limited and it is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance to hear this terrific music ensemble that plans to make Crossville its home base.

Key sponsors include First National Bank of Tennessee, Dave Kirk Automotive, and M. Stewart Galloway, M.D. — Cumberland Eye Center. David Bell, of State Farm Insurance, is a supporting sponsor.

Everyone is invited to attend to show support for the group as one of the county's cultural attractions.

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