POINT PLEASANT — The Ohio Valley Symphony will kick off its 23rd season with a night showcasing America’s home-grown music.
The orchestra welcomes the Dukes of Dixieland back to the Ohio Valley on Oct. 6 for an all-new program ranging from traditional jazz to a 21st-century mixture of pop, gospel, country and authentic New Orleans sounds. Ray Fowler, the orchestra’s Music Director, will conduct the 8 p.m. performance in Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School’s Wedge Auditorium.
It’s a return visit for the Dukes, the country’s oldest continuing Dixieland jazz band. They first joined southeast Ohio’s only professional orchestra in July for a performance in the Gallipolis City Park.
Since 1975 in Chicago’s Grant Park, the Dukes have collaborated with great orchestras, including the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, with sizzling arrangements that play off the two traditions’ strengths.
It’s a formula that has worked for players and audiences alike. The Dukes have sold out venues including the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian.
Audiences can expect to hear everything from rags to Gospel classics like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” to more modern favorites, including Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” With a band from New Orleans, there will be some sounds of Mardi Gras in the air, too.
This marks the fifth year the OVS has performed in Point Pleasant, including a concert that helped dedicate the hall’s completion. The annual Point Pleasant concert is a chance for the orchestra to find new fans on the other side of the Ohio River.
“We can’t expect everyone to come to us all the time,” said Lora Snow, the orchestra’s founder and executive director.
The OVS, based at the historic Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in downtown Gallipolis, has built a reputation for offering its audiences a lineup of world-class guest artists performing all varieties of music, ranging from R&B to classical mainstays to holiday favorites. That variety is key both to the OVS’s mission and its more than two decades of success, said Snow.
“The important thing is that the music be good and good music comes in all kinds of packages,” she said. “We show people that orchestras can be very versatile.”
As part of the Ohio Valley Symphony’s mission to bring live, professional, orchestral music to the region and to instill a love of music — especially in children — the public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and 1-4 p.m. Oct. 6 at Wedge Auditorium. Open rehearsals are a great way to grow familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation of an orchestral performance.
Tickets and more information are available at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre box office, 428 Second Ave., Gallipolis; by phone, (740) 446-2787 (ARTS); and through the OVS web site, www.ohiovalleysymphony.org.
Funding for the Ohio Valley Symphony is provided in part by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment. Further support is provided through 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.