GALLIPOLIS — After digging out from another layer of snow and ice, melt off the endless winter Saturday with the warmth of Broadway’s greatest hits and The Ohio Valley Symphony.
Vocalist Steve Amerson joins the OVS at 8 p.m. at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre for a night of favorite songs from six decades of hit shows. Ray Fowler, the orchestra’s music director, conducts.
Concert-goers will hear familiar tunes by the Great White Way’s greatest — and most beloved — composers and lyricists, written for landmark shows that changed the face of musical theater. Amerson will bring them alive in arrangements crafted especially for him to take advantage of the rich, vibrant sounds that only a live orchestra can create.
Amerson’s voice has been heard in an enormous body of work, including more than 160 feature films, and on television shows and commercials. The California resident is a musical ambassador for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and Society, which awarded him their Bob Hope Excellence in Entertainment Award in 2009.
Amerson and southeast Ohio’s only professional orchestra will raise the temperature with the heat of West Side Story, the 1950s retelling of Romeo and Juliet set among the gangs of Manhattan’s gritty immigrant neighborhood streets. Driven by the incomparable music of Leonard Bernstein, look forward to “Tonight,” “Something’s Coming,” and the spicy “Mambo.”
Broadway’s two most famous writing teams are represented, too, in songs filled with the warmth of love. From Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, Amerson sings “On the Street Where You Live,” while Rodgers and Hammerstein are represented by “If I Loved You” from Carousel.
The fire of revolution burns in Les Miserables. From the worldwide sensation Amerson performs the anthem “Do You Hear the People Sing.” Though set in 19th-century Paris, the haunting, prayerful “Bring Him Home” resonates today with thousands of U.S. military personnel deployed in hot spots around the world.
Amerson spends much of his time performing for churches across the country. The inner glow of faith fuels two more Rodgers and Hammerstein classics on Saturday’s program, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music.
Also on tap are the sensation “Into the Fire” from The Scarlet Pimpernel and three selections from Anthony Newly’s 1960s starring vehicle, The Roar of the Greasepaint, including “A Wonderful Day Like Today.”
Fowler and the OVS offer a few moments of reflection with Percy Grainger’s setting of an Irish Tune from County Derry, better known as “Danny Boy,” and with the traditional American “Shenandoah.”
Saturday’s program is part of The Ohio Valley Symphony’s mission to bring live, professional, orchestral music to the region. To help instill a love of music — especially in children – the public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. Friday, and 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Ariel Theatre. Open rehearsals are a great way for young and old alike to grow familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation of an orchestral performance.
Concert-goers have another unique opportunity to make a personal connection with the music, too. Thomas Consolo, OVS Assistant Conductor and program annotator, offers a free pre-concert talk in the third-floor Ariel Chamber Theatre, just upstairs from the concert site. The casual get-togethers put a more personal face on the night’s music, and he’ll answer any questions about the program, the OVS or orchestral music in general. The talk begins at 7:15 p.m.
Single tickets to “Broadway!” with The Ohio Valley Symphony cost $24, $22 (senior) and $12 (student). Tickets and more information are available at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre box office, 428 Second Ave., Gallipolis; by phone, (740) 446-ARTS; and through the OVS website, www.ohiovalleysymphony.org.
Additional funding for The Ohio Valley Symphony is provided by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment. Further support is provided by the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically, with funding by the National Endowment for the Arts.