DSO planning its own rites to welcome spring

When the doors open at the Parish of All Saints on April 11 to the sounds of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Mozart, the group of musicians who will be playing hope the event will be a celebration of spring.

They are also hoping for continued community support as the Dorchester Symphony Orchestra re-invigorates its program and hopes to add additional concerts this year.

The program is being presented with the support of a donation from the Mount Washington Bank.

This concert is also special because it will feature a violin concerto performed by Yoojin Park, a 23-year old master student of James Buswell of the New England Conservatory.

“She is a great young violinist. This will be a very exciting and special concert,” said DSO conductor and director William Shoucair, of Dorchester.

The orchestra has had seven concerts since it was founded in early 2008.

The creation of the Dorchester Symphony Orchestra was the brainchild of Shoucair, a professional conductor and trumpet player.
“I felt it would be a good thing for the community to have its own symphony orchestra,” Shoucair said. “We didn’t have one and so many other communities do. It’s a good cultural institution that can benefit the community in a lot of ways. And it’s something for the kids to see as a cultural alternative that they may not have experienced before.”

As a musician and conductor, Shoucair worked with his network of musicians to put a group together and form the DSO.

He had worked with another orchestra called the Boston Repertory Orchestra and many of the DSO players came from that orchestra.
The first concert was held at the Parish of All Saints.

“I had been to concerts there with the Ashmont Chamber Music,” he said. “The acoustics were good. The location is good. They are very generous to let us perform there.”

In addition to concerts at the Parish of All Saints, the DSO has performed with the Boston City Singers at St. Mark’s Parish in a Christmas concert in 2008. They performed for the city of Boston at a concert on George’s Island last summer and at the Volvo International Cruising Races event also held in Boston last year, said Paul Robinson, a volunteer spokesman for the DSO.

The DSO has also performed for the Fields Corner Main Streets’ “Dancing with the Stars of Boston,” fundraisers for the past two years.

The members of the orchestra are professional musicians who also play with other orchestras and conservatories, Robinson said.
Some of the musicians are from Dorchester and some are from outside of the neighborhood, he said.

The number of players ranges with each concert from 20 to 30 people.
Shoucair is committed to the DSO as well as other community initiatives. He created the DSO Brass Initiative and has been working with students at the Paraclete Academy in South Boston for several months.

“The goal is to try to get as many children as possible to learn to play a brass instrument,” he said.

Shoucair got the program started with trumpets donated from Sonare Winds of Maynard, Mass. He is volunteering to provide free trumpet lessons to students there.

Next, he plans to take the DSO Brass Initiative to the Epiphany School in Dorchester.
Currently, Shoucair is the sole instructor. “I plan to get more [musicians] players on board with the program as we expand,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. The kids appreciate it. It’s something that otherwise they probably wouldn’t be exposed to. It makes a difference in their lives.”

Shoucair knows what it’s like to be exposed to music at a young age and receive encouragement.

“My mother was a musician. She was a pianist,” he said. “The whole family was into classical music. She encouraged me and I started quite young.”

He grew up playing the trumpet and then studied to be a conductor. He attended several conservatories including the Eastman School of Music and Mannes College of Music.

For Shoucair, his efforts to expand access to classical music in Dorchester and beyond is likely having an impact on many local residents and young people.

He is also hoping there will be a great turnout of community support for the DSO’s spring concert.

“The acoustics at the Parish of All saints are absolutely wonderful. They play from the altar. It’s a wonderful venue,” Robinson said.

They hope the spring concert will be an annual event, Robinson said.

The organization’s goal is to present several more concerts this year, including some free concerts in Dorchester parks.
The spring concert program includes: Beethoven Fidelio Overture, Mendelssohn violin concerto with Yoojin Park, and Mozart Symphony #35, Hafner.

Tickets may be ordered online at dorchestersymphony.org; or they may be purchased tickets at the door. Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12.