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Celebrating 50 Years

Celebrating 50 YearsFriday, February 8, 2019

Opening Notes: 6:30
Pre-concert Music: 7:00
Concert: 7:30
Longview High School

We’re going back to Longview High School, where the symphony began fifty years ago on February 8, 1969! Music will include favorites from the last 50 years with special guests and surprises. Our first conductor, James Snowden, will be back to conduct this concert!


James SnowdenConductor: James Snowden

Dr. Snowden received his bachelor's and master's degrees from SFASU in 1965 and 1968 and his Ph.D. in music from the University of Colorado in 1975. He studied conducting with Elizabeth Green, Richard Burgin and Franco Autori (both assistant conductors of Toscanini), and Anshel Brusilow. His advanced conducting study was with Fritz Reiner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the Symphonies of Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Fla. and the Houston All-City Symphony, and was founder and conductor for 10 years of the Longview Symphony Orchestra.

He served for 10 years as music director of the Longview Community Theatre and coordinator of orchestras of the Longview Public Schools, established the Longview High School Orchestra and subsequently took it on a 10-day European tour, founded the Lubbock All-City Orchestra and originated the “Music and Architecture” series as conductor of the University of Tulsa Orchestra. Also at Tulsa, he established the first music literature courses and served as supervisor of student teachers in the public schools. His band at Judson Jr. High received the Texas Honor Band, Class CC Award, the first East Texas band in history to achieve this. As music director of the Longview Community Theatre, he conducted “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Camelot,” “The Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific,” “Annie, Get Your Gun,” “Brigadoon,” and “Carousel,” among others.

Dr. Snowden founded the Longview Symphony Orchestra and conducted it for ten years, growing it from a group of local musicians to full symphonic status, including collaboration with area and nationally recognized guest artists; the initiation of the LSO Concerto Competition; joint performances with the Kilgore College Chorale, the Longview Civic Chorale, and the Longview Ballet Theatre; and fully staged productions of “Peter and the Wolf” with the Longview Junior League.

He also founded and served as director of the Torchlight Music and Ski Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado for ten years—a competition for high school bands, orchestra and choirs. In 1999 he founded the Tyler Homeschool Band at the request of a large group of parents, and served as board member of Opera Longview.

After retiring as director of bands for 10 years at Pine Tree ISD, where he won numerous Sweepstakes Awards and placed a school record for the number of students winning regional, area and All-State honors, he served as music prof. with the U.T. Tyler and East Texas Baptist University. He also served as music director of the Artsview Childrens’ Theatre.

Snowden founded the East Texas Symphonic Band in 1988 (now in its 31st season) and has been its only conductor. Honors include “Texas Leadership and Achievement Award” from TMEA, “International Men of Achievement,” “International Who’s Who in Music,” “Who’s Who in Texas Education,” “Personalities of the South,” and “Who’s Who in America,” among others. He has done over 50 arrangements for wind band and various brass ensembles. In 2014, he was honored as Distinguished Alumni, SFASU School of Music. Awarded the Sudler Silver Scroll for Outstanding Community Band in North America. 2015 Phi Beta Mu—Texas Bandmaster Hall of Fame.

As an avid scuba diver—holding the certification of PADI Divemaster, he pursues hobbies of big game hunting (published an article on the Swedish Mauser rifle), skiing, mountain hiking, world travel, and canine obedience training. Most recently, he served as President of the Judson High School Alumni Association.

Single concert ticket prices*

Level A $50
Level B $40
Level C $30
Level D $20
Student $10
Children $5

Discounts for single purchases of 10 or more tickets.

* Plus applicable fees per ticket

Order online through the Belcher Center, or by calling the Box Office at 903-233-3080, M-F 10-5.


Tell Us Your Story

Do you have a story or memory to share about the Longview Symphony as we celebrate our 50th anniversary? Please submit your comments here.

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