Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, I.M. Terrell students share music, stage

dfwnewsa | October 29, 2023 | 0 | Dallas News , Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, I.M. Terrell students share music, stage

Taichi Fukumura, assistant conductor at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, shakes Harper Berzon’s hand following a side-by-side performance of the symphony and the varsity chamber orchestra at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA. (Marcheta Fornoff | Fort Worth Report)

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High school junior Harper Berzon dreams of joining a professional symphony some day, and a side-by-side performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra gave the violinist the chance to move one step closer to her goal.

The violinist and the 16 other members of I.M. Terrell’s varsity chamber orchestra practiced and performed with the professional musicians Oct. 24 as part of a partnership between Fort Worth ISD and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

“I would describe it as spectacular,” the 16-year-old said after the performance. “I learned a lot, and it was great playing with someone who is better than me, so I know what to aspire to someday.”

The students had been practicing their pieces since August, but had limited time with the symphony before their performance together.

Conductor Taichi Fukumura rehearsed with the students about two weeks before the big performance, but the students didn’t have the opportunity to work with their other professional counterparts until the day of the concert.

“Taichi’s way of conducting and helping phrase the orchestra is very simple to understand, so I think that was very helpful,” junior viola player Daniel Kim, said.

“I would say it’s definitely an experience to remember,” he said. “As I grow older, I think I’ll always look back to this experience … and think of it well.”

For senior and double bass player Ava Hoyt, it was exciting to work with a larger ensemble — including a four-person bass section.

“I’ve been watching the symphony and all their work since I was a little girl,” she said. “So it’s really nice to be able to work with people that you’ve been looking up to and almost see as celebrities.”

As senior manager of education and community programs for the symphony, Josselin Garibo Pendleton made a point to connect with Fort Worth ISD and Jennifer Martin, the district’s orchestra and mariachi specialist.

“We have a really good relationship with the district,” Garibo Pendleton said. “And Jennifer and I had been speaking about ways that we, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, could collaborate with them. … One of the things they said was a side-by-side (concert).”

The groups have rehearsed together in the past, but a grant allowed them to schedule a performance together this year.

Hunter Lewis, I.M. Terrell’s director of instrumental music, knows that only some of his students might pursue music professionally but said this opportunity is valuable to each of them, regardless.

“The great thing about music is that it’s never perfect, right? It’s never too refined and you can always keep working on it,” he said.

“Some of them will do music when they leave here, some of them won’t. But if they can take that type of attention to detail and attention to focus and apply that to whatever they go into, I think that just makes the world a much better place.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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