POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Ohio Valley Symphony (OVS) is gearing up for its second performance of the season, a “Big Band Blast.”
The performance, featuring Carl Topilow, conductor and clarinetist, will be Saturday. Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the Wedge Auditorium, Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School.
“It’s a salute to the veterans and it’s a Big Band Blast,” said Lora Snow, founder and executive director of Ariel Opera House.
The concert will have medleys from the 1930s and 1940s.
“[It’s] going to be music of the big band era,” Snow said. “And we have the conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and he’s also a clarinetist, so you can expect some Benny Goodman tunes in there with him playing the clarinet.”
According to the Ariel Theatre website, “75 years ago at the end of World War II, the music style of the Big Band era was flourishing… [Topilow] will lead the Ohio Valley Symphony through a rousing romp of the stylings of Glenn Miller, Hoagie Carmichael, Irvin Berlin and other big band greats.”
“Carl Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he is holding a conductor’s baton or his trademark red clarinet,” the Ariel Theatre website said.
A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music with a bachelor’s in clarinet performance and a master’s in music education, Topilow is the founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, which is currently in its 25th season of performances.
When it comes to conducting and performing, Topilow often incorporates the two in to his concerts, taking him around the world with 125 orchestras in 37 states in the United States of America and 12 different countries, according to his website.
Topilow helped bring more community involvement and audience engagement during his time conducting the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in Sandusky, Ohio. He served as music director and conductor for more than 40 years with the National Repertory Orchestra and continues to maintain an active role as music advisor assisting in the training young musicians and conductors. Topilow has also served as conductor and director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music for almost 40 years.
Along with Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Topilow has “served as the principal pops conductor for the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Florida, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, both in Ohio.
When not conducting, Topilow plays is clarinet, often with his pianist brother. The two have worked together performing for three CDs.
As previously reported by Ohio Valley Publishing, Snow encourages those who may not be able to make it to the performance or those who want to bring their children to a snippet of the performance to attend the orchestra’s open dress rehearsal.
“The OVS is devoted to bringing great music played by great artists to the Ohio Valley – and making orchestral music easy to love,” stated a current press release. “The doors are open and the public is welcome to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. on Fridays and 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays on concert weekends. Open rehearsals are a wonderful way for young and old alike to listen to live symphonic music when schedules and timing do not allow them to attend concerts. They also offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes into preparing an orchestral performance.
“Most professional groups don’t do that, but I very much wanted to have a different policy for those very reasons,” Snow said.
Tickets are available now on the Ariel Theatre’s website.
Snow said veterans and members of the armed forces receive 10% off of the Nov. 6 concert tickets.
The Big Band Blast concert is sponsored by Ohio Valley Bank.
COVID-19 safety protocols are still in place for OVS concerts with social distancing, masking and all performers will be vaccinated, Snow said. Audience members are asked to wear masks.
As noted earlier in this article, the performance is set for Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wedge Auditorium which is located on the campus of Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School. This temporary change of venue is due to HVAC renovations and Snow also said due to the larger size of this auditorium, this will also allow more room for social distancing.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.