Dearborn Symphony tuned for victory during season opening ‘Music of Champions!’

phyllisSimon Sinek — author, speaker, and consultant who writes on leadership and management — says, “Champions are not the ones who always win races. Champions are the ones who get out there and try. And try harder the next time. And even harder the next time. ‘Champion’ is a state of mind. They are devoted. They compete to best themselves as much if not more than they compete to best others. Champions are not just athletes.”

Dearborn Symphony musicians embraced that “champion” state of mind, as guest conductor Lief Bjaland led the orchestra to a win Sept. 30 at the Ford & Community and Performing Arts Center.

“The Star Spangled Banner” was the opening play. A sparkling performance set the tone for the rest of the evening.

The overall instrumental highlight reel included “Wild World of Sports Fanfare” by Charles Fox, “Superman March” by John Williams as well as “An Orchestral Olympics with Leroy Anderson.”

The strings ran with piece “Fiddle-Faddle,” weighing in with good marks. (Scorecards held up by the trombones.) The clarinets called their play, “Clarinet Candy,” and as a result received the same grade.

Percussionist Raymond Riggs took center stage, and with a comedic, yet well executed rendering of “The Typewriter,” tied it all up with yet another equally weighted result. In a breakaway, trumpets, led by Michael McGowan, finished fast and hard taking home the gold. Winners were all in attendance.

Continued musical high spots blazed with masterful delivery and included “The Skaters Waltz” by Emile Waldteuffel, “Jockey Polka” by Josef Strauss, and “Highlights from Rocky” by Bill Conti.

New concert master Dan Winnick on violin showed versatility and virtuosity as he took the stage using his improvisation skills in a delightful rendering of “Sweet Georgia Brown” by Marceo Pinkard.

Halftime followed with more triumphant music, as the orchestra artfully flexed the notes of Leo Arnaud’s “Bugler’s Dream,” “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis, John Phillip Sousa’s “The National Game March” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth.

There were no timeouts, even when injured players were called in for the play. Right off the bench, nursing what seemed to be a bad foot, John Zadikian, stood tall as he gave a riveting narration of “Casy at Bat,” by Steven Reineke. Harmonic action continued with “Heavy Action” by Johnny Pearson and “College Fight Song Sing Off” by Jeremy Goodman.

A glorious close to the night’s show came when the orchestra and Bjaland dug deep to bring “Symphony No. 4 –Finale,” by Pyotr Iiyich Tchaikovsky into the finales.

At the end, it was clear, in a league of their own, the Dearborn Symphony and Bjaland brought their A-game.

The season continues Nov. 11 with “Kaleidoscope,” a concert featuring guest violinist Bella Hristovia. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and can be purchased in advance or at the door.  Group ticket sales are available.

For more information go to or call 313-565-2424.