In October 2011, SSO Music Director Sheldon Bair was invited to speak at the 6th annual Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton, U.K. The invitation came over a year earlier due to the fact that Bair had conducted the U.S. premiere of Arnold’s 9th (and last) Symphony in Bel Air in March 2000. On the 90th Anniversary of Arnold’s birth, Bair was given the honor of laying a wreath at the bust of Sir Malcolm Arnold in the lobby of the Northampton Concert Hall where the festival was being held. Also during the trip, Bair met with Tony masters, a retired high school band director who had brought his school band to Bel Air on two occasions. There may be future collaborations with the SSO and the local youth orchestras from England. Bair also met with English conductor Andrew Penny who conducted the Naxos label’s CD set of all nine Arnold symphonies. Maestro Bair’s travels connect the SSO to points all over the world and are one of the reasons why this all-volunteer community orchestra is of such an amazing value to Harford County.
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