Twenty years ago, finding young, talented players of string instruments was difficult in Hernando County. The Hernando Symphony Orchestra needed string players, and through the help of the late Charlotte Murrin, a member of the orchestra and a teacher of the Suzuki method of music, local youngsters began learning to play the violin, viola and cello.
Today, the task of finding young string players isn't nearly as difficult, and some of them will perform with the orchestra during its American Composers spring concerts, which begin Saturday at the Hernando High School Performing Arts Center and continue Sunday and Tuesday at Springstead Theater.
The winners of the orchestra's annual Young Artist Competition include cellist Joel Brown, who will perform Vivaldi's Concerto in G Minor, and violinist Mariah Dixon, who will perform Allegro Brilliante by Ten Have.
Also featured will be about 40 members of the Suzuki Strings. Led by Ruth Brown, the group will perform Twinkle, Twinkle and Orange Blossom Special.
"It will really be a treat," said orchestra conductor Wayne Raymond. "They all do so well … and the age range (of the Suzuki Strings) is amazing. Some of them are as young as 5 years old."
Keeping with the American composers theme, the orchestra will perform selections by such composers as George Gershwin, John Williams and Leonard Bernstein. Some of the selections include Summertime, West Side Story, Dances with Wolves, Fanfare for the Common Man and the theme to Titanic.
"We also have Jay Leaman and his wife, Sylvia, performing solos," Raymond said.
Jay Leaman will perform Stardust on trombone; Sylvia will perform the theme to Forrest Gump on piano.
Another treat will be the Leroy Anderson piece, The Typewriter. Featured in the short orchestral piece will be Raymond, who will be "performing" on the typewriter.
"It's more of a novelty piece," Raymond said. "I saw a rendition on YouTube and thought it was hilarious."