ASO concert is music to my ears

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

Pelham resident Karl Braaten is headed to New York City in May, where he’ll visit Carnegie Hall.

He will visit the famed venue as a musician, not a mere tourist. Braaten is a violinist and a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, which was invited selected to participate in the second annual “Spring for Music” festival in New York City.

It’s an honor for Alabama’s orchestra, which includes other Shelby County residents.

“It’s pretty difficult to get an orchestra to play in Carnegie,” Braaten said. “People are very, very excited about it.”

I visited Braaten last week at the Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham to learn more about the upcoming festival.

“It’s focusing on contemporary music,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’re know for is playing contemporary music and doing it very well. I think that’s one of the reasons we got picked.”

Shelby County is helping show support for the ASO’s achievement. The ARts & Lectures Club of Shelby County is sponsoring a fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center.

“We feel this national recognition deserves a big celebration,” Mindy Boggs, ASO Board member and founding president of ARts & Lectures Club of Shelby County, said in a press release. “To bring attention to ASO’s achievement, we plan to transform the Cahaba Grand Conference Center into “all things New York” featuring a 40-minute musical revue by popular entertainers Four for Time.”

Braaten hopes the event and the ASO’s selection will draw a new crowd to attend its performances.

“I don’t know a lot of people outside the arts and music community that know about us yet,” he said. “I think it’s something that a lot more people should enjoy.”

If you weren’t able to snag tickets for this weekend’s event, I hope you’ll consider attending a performance by the ASO. During my visit with Braaten, I only heard a few musicians practicing backstage, but it was enough to convince me to buy tickets.

For more information, visit Artsandlecturesclubofshelbyco.com or Alabamasymphony.org.