Saturday Night out in Mesquite can provide some real class entertainment and culture. Hats off to the Casablanca Resort for bringing big city entertainment to our town. A sell out crowd came to hear a performance by the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Selmer Spitzer featuring guest soloist and pianist Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel from Southern Utah University. Some of Mesquites’ own local talent also performed in the orchestra. Please enjoy this magical musical treat.
The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra was established in 2014, with its inaugural concert in Mesquite, Nevada at the Mesquite Community Theatre. Our (the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra) mission of the organization is to share our compassion and dedication for music with everyone. Our purpose is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experience live music through professional concert performances. Along with good schools, libraries cultural components of the local areas, the symphony is a significant aspect of our cultural structure.
Dr. Selmer Spitzer, the musical director and conductor of the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, is a native of North Dakota. He has been active in music since age 6 playing piano, and active in a country church choir since age 12, played tuba in high school. He switched to clarinet as a music education major at Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI, attended Vandercook College of Music, Chicago, IL, and received his M.M.Ed, and then continued at the University of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL, where he earned his Ph.D. in Administration and Music Education. Dr. Spitzer studied under such well known musicians as arranger Forest Bucktel, percussionist, Haskel Harr, and clarinet from clarinetist and composer Edgar P. Thiessen.
He started teaching in high schools in Williston, ND, Spearfish, SD, Hanford, CA; accepted a position of Instrumental Music Director at Victor Valley College, Victorville, CA, as department chairman, conductor of bands and the High Desert Symphony Orchestra. After retiring he returned to North Dakota as Director of Instrumental Music at the University of Jamestown, Jamestown, ND, retired a second time and accepted an interim position as an associate professor, directing the Dickinson State University Wind Ensemble and Marching Band. Dr. Spitzer has organized string ensembles, and full orchestras in high schools and universities. He is credited for organizing high school honor groups in North Dakota, South Dakota and California including the North Dakota Intercolliate Honor Band. His passion continues to be conducting instrumental ensembles.
The featured and special guest for the February 23, 2019 performance was Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel. Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel feels equally at home in a wide range of musical genres. He was recently featured as soloist in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Christian is a founding member of Southern Utah University’s Faculty Jazz Combo Kind of Blue and frequently performs with Jazz ensembles and musicians throughout southern Utah. Praised as “…a master of contrasts…” (Aalener Nachrichten) and for his ability to “…put the audience into a state of sheer awe…” (Gmünder Tagespost), Christian’s performances have taken him all over the United States, to South America and to Europe.
Christian has performed on public radio and presented at state, regional, national and international conferences. Upcoming projects include a CD recording with clarinetist Dr. Jessica Lindsey that will be released on Albany Records. Christian received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Missouri Western State University. He earned Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His primary teachers include Jerry Anderson and Mark Clinton, piano, and Quentin Faulkner, harpsichord and organ. He has been Director of Keyboard Studies at SUU since 2011.
Dr. Bohnenstengel also serves on the SN Symphony Orchestra’s President’s Advisory Council as do many of our local area (Mesquite, St.George and Moapa valley) residents who perform, provide leadership and financial support for this world class symphony orchestra, our cultural diamond in the desert.
Visit the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra website for the many that have performed, worked hard and contributed financially and helped to bring this magnificent musical magic to our area.