Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
growing in stature
KELLY HAGGARD OLSON
Special to GwinnettForum
(Editor's Note: During 2008, the Gwinnett Philharmonic
Orchestra went out of business. However, another orchestral music
organization has become much more active in the county in recent
years. Here is a brief overview of how the
Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus began. -eeb)
DULUTH, Ga., Jan. 9, 2009 -- Twelve years ago, in 1996, two home
school mothers organized a small string group because they wanted
to create more performance opportunities for their children. They
started with a 15-piece youth orchestra. One year later, Robert
Trocina accepted the directorship and helped expand the organization
into a full symphony orchestra. Adult musicians were later added
to the orchestra, and the non-profit Gwinnett Community Symphony
Orchestra was born.
In the fall of 2007, Rick Smith created the companion Symphony
Chorus. Though the Chorus is fairly new to the organization and
is still recruiting additional members, it has already participated
in exciting collaborations with the Berkmar High School Chorus and
Capitol City Opera.
May Smith, vice president and senior loan officer at Atlanta Mortgage
Lending, became board president of the Symphony in 2008 and is helping
to restructure the GSO.
The GSO organization now includes a 90-member Symphony Orchestra,
50-member Symphony Chorus, 21-member Chamber Orchestra and 40-member
Ballet Orchestra. It recently dropped 'Community' from its name
in an effort to reflect the more professional character of the organization,
and officially became the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
The GSO&C played in 2008 its second year of a five-year contract
with the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, for whom the Ballet Orchestra
performs live for The Nutcracker in Fall and another ballet in the
Spring (Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake in 2009). It is also in its first
year working with Capitol City Opera and the new Georgia Gwinnett
Music Director/Orchestra Conductor Robert Trocina received
his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Kennesaw State University
and studied further at Georgia State University. He is the co-founder/CEO
of New School of Music, which has three Atlanta-based locations,
80 music teachers and 1600 students.
Trocina served as associate conductor and board member of the Atlanta
Wind Symphony, and is a member of the Music Educators' National
Conference, International Trumpet Guild and Georgia Music Educators'
Association. He performs with the Capital City Chamber Orchestra.
Symphony Chorus Conductor Rick Smith began studying piano
at the age of 7, becoming the pianist at his church at 12. He received
Bachelor's degrees in both church music and music education at Shorter
College, and studied under choral genius John H. Ratledge III, Ph.D.
Smith serves as senior music minister at The River United Methodist
Church, in Cumming. Prior to that, he held a music ministry position
for nine years at First Christian Church of Atlanta, in Tucker.
He is a co-founder of New School of Music, and has had a leadership
role with the GSO since 1997.
Associate Conductor Scott Hague received his Bachelor of
Music Education from Florida State University and is currently working
on his master's degree at the University of Georgia. He is currently
director of orchestras at Berkmar High School and serves as the
violist for Atlanta's Poulenc String Quartet. He is also a member
of the Georgia Music Educators Association and the American String
County cancels Clean and Beautiful contract;
work up in the air
Editor and Publisher
JAN. 9, 2009 -- The current garbage collection upheaval in Gwinnett
may have caused death of a 29-year-old non-profit agency which has
served the county well and with distinction since its inception.
When the Gwinnett County Commission Tuesday terminated the operation
and management agreement between the county and Gwinnett
Clean and Beautiful Inc., in effect it put in limbo the work
of this multi-person board in the county. Now after 120 days, the
county will either take over the activities once done by Clean and
Beautiful, or find a new route to handle these items.
Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful was formed in 1980 out of frustration
by citizens in the county over illegal dumping and littering in
Gwinnett. It also early on emphasized the elimination of graffiti
throughout the county.
Overall, Clean and Beautiful had four basic goals:
- Promote public interest in the environment of Gwinnett.
- Initiate plans and coordinate programs for litter control.
- Improve the sanitation and cleanliness of the county.
- Recommend plans for improvements to beautify the county.
In the mid-70s, Gwinnett government decided (we think prudently)
that the county should not itself operate waste hauling, but would
prefer to have private companies provide this service. Later the
Commission asked Gwinnett and Beautiful to study waste hauling,
and later awarded a contract to a subsidiary of Gwinnett Clean and
Beautiful for a new plan for waste collection.
Since inception, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful was adding other
activities, including the operation of an innovative Recycling Bank
in its mission to make the county more attractive, and eliminate
litter. A second Recycling Bank was soon added. (The initial Recycling
Bank was destroyed in a fire on June 25, 2008. It's being rebuilt,
and is scheduled to be re-opened this spring for the public.) Later
the GC&B board would initiate curbside recycling through private
All this was being done with little public funding, with the 2008
budget of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful at $2.4 million, of which
only 27 percent came from the county treasury. Recycling alone generated
55 percent of its budget, while private and corporate contributions
was 18 percent.
Another innovative effort by Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful was the
recycling of Christmas trees for mulch, which began in 1984. Later
it would also help revise the county tree ordinance.
But today these many programs that are good for Gwinnett could
be in jeopardy, since the county commission has halted its agreement
with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. In the next few weeks, the county
must come up with alternatives so that these vital programs continue
in the county. Gwinnett must also determine how waste will be collected.
It's a tall order, but we feel sure Gwinnett will find a way to
get this situation handled expeditiously and progressively.
Hats off to the blue-ribbon Clean and Beautiful board of Gwinnett
leaders, who include: Sheila Adcock, Ethel Andersen, Sharon Bartels,
Carol Boyce, Keith Carnes, Dick Carothers, Carla Carraway, Randy
Dellinger, Mike Guynn, Karen Hill, Paula Hill, Lloyd Hofer, L.C.
Johnson, Terri Jondahl, Stan Jones, Pat Kien, Berney Kirkland, Nick
Masino, Alicia McCart, Caryn McGarity, Sean Murphy, Jose Perez,
Paige Powers, Diana Preston, Louise Radloff, Patsy Rooks, Bill Russell,
David Seago, David Snell, Melodie Snell-Conner, Vicky Sweeny, Richard
Tucker, Charlie Walters, Chuck Warbington, Phylecia Wilson and Philip
Wolfe. Hats off, too, to Chairman Jim Steele and Director Connie
Wiggins and their staff. Thanks to all of you for years of service
to the county.
We pray that before too long, the county government can find a
way to remove itself from the daily management of the many services-garbage
included -- that Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful once managed.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com
to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Hayes Family
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source of info about coughing during heart attack
Editor, the Forum:
I've seen the
missive you included in the Forum recently about coughing if
you feel you are having a heart attack.
According to Snopes.com,
which I find to be a darned reliable internet ferret, this is not
Snopes was started to deal with urban legends from computer viruses
to dangerous attackers to food myths and much more. Go explore the
website, do a search under a few key words and if it isn't too new,
then you'll probably find it. It deals with that which is both true,
false and even undetermined. It is well thought out and researched
and a good source to use.
-- Laura Stickell, Snellville
Dear Laura: Thank you for pointing this out,
as did a telephone call. We had checked with a prominent physician
before publishing. However, we also understand that the quoted
source, the Rochester General Hospital, disavows this method.
Also, the American Heart Association does not recommend this procedure
where there is no medical supervision. Yes, apparently urban legend.
Citizen's Police Academy accepting applications
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to wear a badge,
the Suwanee Police Department has an interactive opportunity for
you. The police department's eight-week Citizen's Police Academy
begins February 10.
The program offers Suwanee residents and business owners a fun,
exciting way to get a glimpse behind the badge and to develop a
better understanding of the issues, tactics, and risks associated
with law enforcement.
Deadline for notarized applications is Friday, January 23; applications
are available online at www.suwanee.com. Participants must be at
least 19 years old; preference is given to Suwanee residents or
to those who work in the City of Suwanee. For more information,
contact Sgt. Elias Casanas at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 770/945-4607, ext. 327. Weekly classes are from 6:30-8:45 p.m.
Tuesdays, February 10 - March 31, at the George Pierce Park Community
Center, 55 Buford Highway. Classes cover a variety of topics, including
crime scene processing, traffic stops, responding to burglary calls,
crime prevention, and narcotics identification.
Sierra Club to hear
info Jan. 15 on Adopt-a-Stream program
Greater Gwinnett Group of the Sierra Club will meet Thursday, January
15. Learn more about the Adopt-a-Stream program, as Dr. Michael
Beach, with the Centers for Disease Control and our Adopt-a-Stream
leader, will be leading the discussion.
Dr. Beach is highly respected nationally and internationally for
his research regarding the effects of recreation in water on public
health. The club meets at Berkmar High School in the media center
at 7p.m. for socializing, with the program beginning at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Tom Morrissey at email@example.com
or call (404) 513-4069.
New London Theatre
opens competition for talent soon
New London Theatre will present So You Think You've Got Talent?
2 with open auditions on January 16 and 17, Semi-finals on January
23, and Finals on January 24, 2009.
So You Think You've Got Talent? 2 is the area's premier
performance talent competition for any age or talent. Whether your
talent is singing, dancing, theatrical readings, juggling, plate
spinning, or even animal calls, this competition is for you. Awards
and prizes will be presented to the top scoring participants. Visit
our website for details and sign-up information.
The presentation will be held at New London Theatre 2485 East Main
The public is encouraged to attend and enjoy the audition performances
for $5 advance/$7 at the door. Tickets for the semi-finals and finals
are $10 advance/$12 at the door. Tickets can be purchased either
online through our website or at the theatre box office. For information
e-mail the theatre at NLTSnellville@newlondontheatre.org
or call us at 770.559.1484.
juvenile court attorney wins statewide honors
Deborah A. Stone, senior attorney and supervisor with the Gwinnett
County Juvenile Court's Guardian ad litem office, was named Juvenile
Court Attorney of the Year for Georgia by the Child Placement Committee.
(The Guardian Ad Litem Unit provides staff attorneys to represent
children who are alleged to be deprived. The Guardian Ad Litems
also represent children in cases involving custody issues in Juvenile
and Superior Court.)
Stone was honored at the annual Child Placement Conference, the
largest statewide multi-disciplinary gathering for the field of
child welfare in Georgia. In nominating Stone for the award, Lori
Strong of Gwinnett/Rockdale/Newton Mental Health cited her dedication
and long years of service to the children of the state of Georgia.
Stone has been with the Guardian ad Litem office for 15 years. During
that time she has zealously represented thousands of children in
court. "Deborah's dedication to her young clients extends beyond
the courtroom," said Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Robert
Rodatus. "She often attends extracurricular activities, special
awards ceremonies, school meetings and other functions for those
who have no one else to support them."
Stone also serves as a trainer, sharing her expertise with other
attorneys on Juvenile Court procedures and how to best advocate
for children who are part of the child welfare system.
Evermore CID to be
awarded statewide engineering honor
The Georgia Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers
(ITE) has selected the Evermore Community Improvement District (CID)
as the recipient of the Sections 2008 Agency Achievement Award.
Keith Strickland, Georgia Section ITE past president and Nominating
Committee Chair says: "Our Nominating Committee believes that
the Evermore CID has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing mobility
throughout its area of influence, especially in the cooperative
spirit that the Evermore CID has worked with other transportation
agencies including the Georgia Department of Transportation."
The Evermore CID will receive the 2008 Agency Achievement Award
at the Georgia Section's Annual Banquet on January 17, 2009. Past
recipients include the Cumberland CID, Perimeter CID, Gwinnett County
DOT, and Georgia DOT Traffic Operations Division.
- An invitation: What
Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your
best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have
read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus
what book you plan to read next. --eeb
St. Simons Island
has long, colorful history
The second-largest and most developed of Georgia's barrier islands,
Simons is approximately 12 miles long and nearly 3 miles wide
at its widest stretch (roughly the size of Manhattan Island in New
York). The island is located in Glynn County on Georgia's coast
and lies east of Brunswick, south of Little St. Simons Island and
the Hampton River, and north of Jekyll Island. The resort community
of Sea Island is separated from St. Simons on the east by the Black
Banks River. Known for its oak tree canopies and historic landmarks,
St. Simons is both a tourist destination and, according to the 2000
U.S. census, home to more than 13,000 permanent residents.
The earliest record of human habitation on the island dates to
the Late Archaic Period, about 5,000 to 3,000 years ago. Centuries
later, the Guale Indians established a chiefdom centered on St.
Catherines Island and used St. Simons as their hunting and fishing
grounds. By 1500 the Guale had established a permanent village of
about 200 people on St. Simons, which they called Guadalquini.
Beginning in 1568, the Spanish attempted to create missions along
the Georgia coast. Catholic missions were the primary means by which
Georgia's indigenous Native American chiefdoms were assimilated
into the Spanish colonial system along the northern frontier of
greater Spanish Florida. In the 1600s St. Simons became home to
two Spanish missions: San Buenaventura de Guadalquini, on the southern
tip of the island, and Santo Domingo de Asao (or Asajo), on the
As early as 1670, with Great Britain's establishment of the colony
of Carolina and its expansion into Georgia territory, Spanish rule
was threatened by the English. The Georgia coast was considered
"debatable land" by England and Spain, even though Spain
had fully retreated from St. Simons by 1702. In 1733, General James
Edward Oglethorpe founded the English settlement of Savannah. In
1736 he established Fort Frederica, named after the heir to the
British throne, Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, on the west side
of St. Simons Island to protect Savannah and the Carolinas from
the Spanish threat.
Between 1736 and 1749 Fort Frederica was the hub of British military
operations along the Georgia frontier. A town of the same name grew
up around the fort and was of great importance to the new colony.
By 1740 Frederica's population was 1,000. In 1736 the congregation
of what would become Christ Church was organized within Fort Frederica
as a mission of the Church of England. Charles Wesley led the first
services. In 1742 Britain's decisive victory over Spain in the Battle
of Bloody Marsh ended the Spanish threat to the Georgia coast. When
the British regimen disbanded in 1749, most of the townspeople relocated
to the mainland. Fort Frederica went into decline and, except for
a short time of prosperity during the 1760s and 1770s under the
leadership of merchant James Spalding, never fully recovered. Today
the historic citadel's tabby ruins are maintained by the National
(To Be Continued)
Words from Lincoln
about people who have no vices
"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have
very few virtues."
-- Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865).
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