Auditioning for a new job with a group of middle-school students at your side might not be the best way to land the position, but that somewhat daunting prospect doesn't concern Brett Wery at all.
"I work with students all the time, so that kind of thing doesn't concern me," said Wery, who will serve as the Schenectady Symphony's guest conductor for the group's special concert at Proctors on Sunday at 3 p.m. "I've done a lot of concerts where the students are side by side with professional musicians. I'm looking forward to it."
Wery, the Dean of the School of Music at SUNY Schenectady County Community College and director of the Schenectady Wind Ensemble, is one of four guest conductors vying for a permanent position with the Schenectady Symphony, now in its 85th year. This Sunday's event will include a violin solo by Michael Emery and a special performance by students of the CHIME program, an arm of the Empire State Youth Orchestra.
"The students are going to do a version of the 'Romeo and Juliet Overture,' an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's work by Richard Meyer, who really put together a wonderful piece for a young orchestra," said Wery. "It's not as grueling as the original but it gives you the flavor. The students will perform Meyer's work and then the symphony will do the original."
The entire concert will last about two hours and the two groups -- the Schenectady Symphony and CHIME -- will also perform together.
"At the start of the second act, the students from our CHIME program are invited to perform with the symphony side by side with their musicians," said Jared Shortmeier, CHIME's administrative director. "We'll probably have about 40 to 45 of our students there, mostly from middle schools. We'll have one rehearsal with the symphony and then a full dress rehearsal Friday night. The kids are really looking forward to it."
CHIME was created in 2015 to help give Schenectady schoolchildren an opportunity to take music lessons.
"It's a completely free program and we provide the instruments," said Shortmeier. "Some of our kids have been involved for three years and they're coming to Proctors every day after school for class. It's a daily program and quite intense."
CHIME began with programs at Yates and Van Corlaer elementary schools in Schenectady, and now, along with its Proctors site, has a program starting up with the Troy City School District.
"The kids that come to Proctors have been with us a while, but we have a great partnership with the city schools and we've also taken advantage of some great music teachers in the Schenectady system," said Shortmeier. "We have very much benefited from all their hard work at Yates and Van Corlaer. The idea was to give daily instruction to kids who would otherwise probably not have the opportunity. Financial issues can often be a barrier to learning to play and taking lessons, and we try to break down those barriers."
Along with the Tchaikovsky piece, Sunday's event will include "Symphony No. 3, op. 56, A minor 'Scotch.'" Emery's violin solo will be the "Violin Concerto, A minor. op 82," by Alexander Glazunov.
Sunday's concert is the second of four Schenectady Symphony events for the 2018-2019 season. The third is scheduled for March 24 at the GE Theatre at Proctors, and the season-ending event, with special guests the Schenectady High Silhouettes, will be on the Proctors MainStage on May 12.
Schenectady Symphony and CHIME
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $22-$15; students under 18 free
MORE INFO: www.schenectadysymphony.org