West Islip Symphony Orchestra to make its return

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On Friday, Dec. 3, the West Islip Symphony Orchestra will make its big return after nearly a year and a half since their last performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to their website, the West Islip Symphony Orchestra’s goal is to “educate and perpetuate the interest in classical music.” Paul Little, the orchestra’s conductor, said the musicians are eager to perform and that the upcoming concert in December will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

“One of the things that the pandemic did was it took the one thing that we as human beings are good at, and that’s being together, and it took that away from us,” Little said.

Little said the approximately 50-person orchestra is composed of amateurs, semi-professionals, and professional musicians. Little has been conductor of the orchestra since 2018. According to the symphony’s website, Little is a conducting student of Timothy Topolewski and graduated from the Crane School of Music in 2003. Little has played in the North Shore Symphony, the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra and the Dowling College and Five Towns College symphony orchestras. As a conductor, Little regularly appears at the Community Church of Great Neck and Mineola’s Edge City Church. In 2008, he appeared as a guest conductor of the Valley Stream Central High School District’s all-district orchestra. In 2020, Little conducted the NMEA All County String Orchestra. A highly sought-after musician, he has also performed in, directed, been the technical advisor and conducted the music ensemble of over 40 musical theater productions throughout Long Island.

Little is the vice president of the Legato Foundation, a music nonprofit dedicated to curating, developing, and promoting classical music on Long Island. The organization has hosted multiple house concerts and recitals throughout Long Island since 2016. Legato has also been instrumental in the creation of the Long Island Guitar Orchestra, the Long Island Guitar Project, and the 2019 Legato Foundation Guitar Summit, becoming a major driving force of the Long Island classical guitar world.

Little is the recipient of the 2015 Town of Islip Black History Distinguished Service Award. He is currently a private teacher of violin, viola and cello, which he has done for over 15 years. He previously taught orchestra and music theory in the North Babylon and Valley Stream Central school districts. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the West Islip Symphony and Island Symphony, and is the current president of the Northport Symphony Orchestra. For more information on the West Islip Symphony Orchestra contact NancyD5000@aol.com.

The concert on Dec. 3 will be held at the West Islip High School at 8 p.m. and is free to attend.

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