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Saline Symphony Orchestra will hold the kickoff for its sixth season from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at First United Methodist Church in Benton. 

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Orchestra Conductor Tannner Oglesby said the event will be a chance for those who have already been part of the symphony to update their information and those interested or new to the symphony to learn more. 

"If you are interested in joining the orchestra, this is the ideal time to meet orchestra members and staff," the Facebook event details said. 

The kickoff is not a performance, though there will be some musicians playing during the event. 

Oglesby said this year's kickoff will also be where younger players can learn about the newest addition to the symphony, youth ensembles for musicians age 5 to 18. The ensembles are meant to be the first step toward creating a full youth orchestra in a year or two.

The symphony plans to have solos, duets and trios perform during its concerts. 

Oglesby said the symphony has around 60 members each year. It has grown from a group of 20. He feels it allows the symphony to branch out and be more selective. 

"It is a community orchestra," he said. "It is made up of members from Saline County and not from Saline County. It is Saline County based."

The Symphony puts on two concerts a year, one winter and one in the spring. There are also smaller performances through the year. They often perform with choirs and dance studios. The Symphony often has soloists take part in its performances.

Oglesby said the orchestra is open to any musician in the area, but he does require a minimum standard of ability. He tries to keep the music they perform easy enough that everyone can play but challenging enough to keep it interesting. 

Oglesby said the kickoff is not only for those who want to join the orchestra, but also for supporters of the orchestra and those who might be interested in shows. It is meant to be a causal setting where people can meet the members. 

There will be finger foods available. 

He highly encourages anyone wishing to join the orchestra to attend the kickoff because it will allow the group to get going in rehearsals faster. The first rehearsal is set for 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 at Bethel Middle School. 

The symphony will rehearse eight times before each performance plus dress rehearsal. Oglesby said he expects members to practice outside of rehearsal so that time can focus on putting the music together. 

Dues for the symphony are $40 and cover music, location fees, a T-shirt, lapel pin, car decal and more. 

"It is good bang for your buck," Oglesby said. 

There are scholarships for students to cover the dues. The symphony can work with those who have a hard time paying the fee. 

The winter performance will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 7. The location will be announced later.  

Oglesby thinks it is important for the county to have its own symphony. It not only gives musicians a chance to perform, but provides something for families and the community to enjoy. He added that it also benefits the community economically by people coming to Saline County to see the group and being one more amenity available.

He said the support people provide the orchestra goes back into music education in the community. 

Oglesby often hears people say they didn't know Saline County even had an orchestra. He wants to see people attend the kickoff and learn more. 

"We want the community there to support us," he said. 

For more information on the Saline Symphony Orchestra, Oglesby said they can be reached at salineorchestra.info@gmail.com. The website is www.salinesymphony.org or people can follow them on Facebook for updates. 

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