By Joie’ Thornton
The Mesquite Symphony Orchestra event presented by Brookhaven College took place Sept. 14. The event was a scholarship benefit concert for the Brookhaven College School of the Arts.
The orchestra featured more than 60 musicians. Jason Bennett, program development specialist for the BCSA, said it is refreshing that the orchestra is a blend of students, educators and the community.
The orchestra includes college students from the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M Commerce as well as high school students from West Mesquite High School, Terrell High School and Horn High School, among other schools.
The collaboration between Brookhaven and the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra happens once a year. The proceeds from the benefit are divided into chunks and go to multiple students. Jason said, “They don’t have a specific thing, it’s more of a certain amount of money, and we try to delegate.”
Compared to other department scholarship programs that may give a scholarship to one person, the music department prefers to give scholarships to at least two or three students, Jason said.
The Mesquite Symphony Orchestra featured a guest for the concert: Rodger Bennett, Brookhaven’s vice president of academic affairs and student success, as well as a guitarist. He performed with the orchestra and had a solo performance.
Rodger played with the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra five years ago for the same event. Rodger started playing the guitar seriously when he was 17 years old. He grew up around music, and his mother was a pianist. When he was young, there was always music playing in the house.
His mother acquainted him with classical guitar, which sparked his interest in the instrument. Rodger said he believes classical guitar inspired him to follow a career in music, but he doesn’t have one particular inspiration.
After a year learning how to play, Rodger sought out other classical guitar players in Dayton, Ohio, where he lived at the time. He described how, during the 1960s, he found four other guitar players at the same skill level.
They decided to put on a concert at the University of Dayton. That was Rodger’s first performance.
He said the best part of performing is when he is in the zone. Rodger compared the zone to how professional athletes feel when they are playing their sport.
Rodger said when he plays a solo, he gets into the zone, and it’s “almost like you’re standing outside of yourself. It’s like you’re watching yourself play.”
Rodger said it’s a good feeling when people approach him after a performance and say he moved them or made them cry.
For future concerts and music events on campus, readers can check the Brookhaven College School of the Arts event schedule at www.brookhaven- college.edu/instruction/bcsa/ music.