The Hannibal Area String Orchestra will present their Spring Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the Roland Fine Arts Center, 2800 Palmyra Road in Hannibal

The Hannibal Area String Orchestra will present their Spring Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 in the Roland Fine Arts Center, 2800 Palmyra Road in Hannibal.

The theme of the concert is “Music Through the Ages: From Medieval to Modern.” The public is invited to attend. Admission is free, but a free-will offering will be taken to help cover the cost of music and other expenses.

The Hannibal Area String Orchestra began as the Hannibal-LaGrange University String Orchestra during the fall semester of 2013, with Jane Griffen, conductor, and John Ferguson, assistant, and about 15 members. The String Orchestra consisted of 1st violins, viola, cello, string bass and piano.

After three years, the group transitioned into a community string orchestra with 23 members, directed by John Ferguson. The string orchestra began to reach out to include young children and adult string players from all around the Hannibal area, including other counties in Missouri and Illinois. It is hoped that several of the younger members of the Hannibal Area String Orchestra will eventually become part of the Quincy Area Youth Orchestra.

Conductor John Ferguson said,” I'm very encouraged to see how this organization has grown over the last few years. It is really great to see the support of Hannibal and surrounding communities. I really enjoy seeing the members who are at all levels of playing coming together to make beautiful music.”

Josiah Campbell, 13, agreed. He is a violin player who has been playing with the orchestra since he was eight years old.

“Listening to an orchestra is great, but to be able to sit in the middle of one and be a part of the music — to hear all of the sounds come together — is a really neat experience,” Josiah said. “I've really enjoyed making new friends, and the music is challenging, is it has pushed me to be a better musician.”

Currently, the organization is made up of three groups: the Beginning String Orchestra, directed by Katie Schisler; an Intermediate String Orchestra, directed by John Ferguson; and the Advanced String Orchestra, directed by John Ferguson. The string orchestra has grown to about 60 members including piano, guitar, electric guitar and percussion on some pieces.

The importance of having an orchestra like this cannot be underestimated,” said violin player Susan Asher. “It gives me and the other non-professional adult players an opportunity to play with very talented people.”

Another adult violin player, Jonathan Yeung, said, “Music provides an empowering platform for expression and creativity. It forms timeless connections with masterful composers and unites fellow contemporaries sharing similar passion. Making music is both rewarding and impactful, and I am grateful for the privilege of being a participant.”

For any information about the organization or the concert, please contact John Ferguson at 573-406-9971 or at jd.ferguson@charter.net.