5 questions with Cathy Brown
Cathy Brown is the musical director for the New Texas Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is an all-volunteer group that will perform its eight concert Saturday, June 30. “Symphonic Cinema” will start at 7 p.m. at Sammons Center on Harry Hines. Tickets are $15.
How did the NTSO come about, and has it always been LGBT friendly?
Three years ago, I approached Tim Seelig about creating this organization under the umbrella of the Turtle Creek Chorale. He was willing to support us, so we started rehearsals at Sammons Center for the Arts in August of 2004. It was an amazing beginning. NTSO is all-volunteer and has always been LGBT-friendly. Our vision is the uniting of diverse peoples within our community and beyond through quality orchestral music.
What should we expect at the Symphonic Cinema?
Our tag line for our logo is “the symphony for the rest of us,” and one of the ways we do that is working to make symphonic music accessible. We do not want anyone left out. We facilitate this through programming and in how we introduce the pieces. I always try to find something outside the norm about the pieces we play and share it with the audience. It makes it more fun that way. This concert is a wonderful mix of music that is featured in movies.
Where did your love for music develop?
I was a band geek. My principle instrument is saxophone, so I spent my formative years in the band, which is all that was offered in the school where I grew up. I enjoyed the camaraderie of playing with other people and creating music together. I played with a few groups after teaching in public schools, but it was my time with the Oak Lawn Band that really inspired my music making through conducting. I must admit that I love leading from the podium and having all that sound wash over me. The orchestra is my favorite instrument to play.
How has music helped you through difficult times as an LGBT person?
Music has always been my constant. Even before I returned to working in music full time, I was either playing with a band, or directing the Oak Lawn Band, the Cathedral of Hope Orchestra, or NTSO. That stability, even with variety, means a lot. Regardless of what else I was going through, I had music to play or lead. I met my partner at an Oak Lawn Band concert in 1989. Fortunately, music is meaningful to her as well, because we have been together since.
Anything else you would like to add? Anything I’m forgetting to ask?
Hey, we can always use players as well. Maybe it is time to get that violin out of the closet and come play with a group where you know you will always feel a part.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the LGBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Ben Briscoe at briscoedallasvoice.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 29, 2007.