By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
---- — PENDLETON — There’s just something a little magical about strains of music wafting through the warm summer air. It’s a quintessential summertime experience, and it’s coming Thursday, June 27, with the fourth annual summer concert of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.
As in years past, Jay and Nancy Ricker, a former ASO board member, are opening up the gardens at their home to make the picture-perfect venue for the musicians.
“This event has all the elements of a wonderful summer evening,” said Rick Sowers, music director and conductor of the ASO. “There’s going to be some really entertaining performances.”
Dana Stone, executive director of the ASO, said that concert-goers can expect to hear light, fun music with familiar tunes while enjoying a little picnicking in the outdoor venue. Last year, about 100 people set up chairs on the lawn to enjoy the music before rain moved them inside.
“We see a lot of audience members with incredible spreads of cheeses, fruits, sandwiches, and wine, while other groups just bring their chairs and some water,” said Stone.
The evening will feature solos by Becky Chappell on the clarinet, Kent Leslie, horn, Larry Powell on trumpet, and more. Sowers said that duets and trios are also planned.
“We try to keep it light and entertaining,” said Sowers. “Sometimes there are novelty pieces as well.”
Monika Spangler and Kent Leslie will perform some flute/horn duets. Principle violist, Li Li, will play with piano. “She’s one of the most amazing violists,” said Sowers.
Also be on the lookout for a trio doing some traditional Jewish Klezmer music, including clarinet, violin and accordion.
Sowers said the intimate venue allows for a more personal interaction between the audience and the musicians, noting that the musicians usually talk to the audience during this concert.
“It’s an opportunity for the audience to get to know them more on a personal level,” said Sowers. “These are really wonderful, witty, intelligent and talented people. It sort of personalizes it a little bit.”
Stone said that she's hoping to see new people attend this year's concert, noting, "It's a real fun event."
More concerts set
Funds raised through the upcoming summer concert go to support the ASO’s 46th symphony season. That kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 12 with Mahler’s First Symphony, the “Titan.”
“This is the largest piece that the orchestra has ever played,” said Sowers, anticipating 84 musicians on deck.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, the ASO will feature English music, with principal oboist Aryn Sweeney in the spotlight.
Then, circle your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 14. That’s the date of the Christmas Concert when concert-goers can expect some new arrangements in the mix.
Sandi Patty teams up with the ASO on Saturday, Feb. 15, for the Valentine’s Concert. Sowers noted that after an inaugural collaboration with the ASO dating back to about 1992, Patty has performed with major orchestras throughout the country. Valentine’s Day makes a great theme, too. “It’s such a wonderful occasion for that, so many fantastic love songs,” said Sowers.
The orchestra puts a bow on the season with Carl Orff’s "Carmina Burana" on Saturday, April 5. Sowers noted that the famous work calls for both chorus and soloists. “It’s a very exciting work. That’s going to be a lot of fun."
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If you go: What: A Little Night Music with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra Where: Thursday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. Where: Gardens of Jay and Nancy Ricker, Pendleton Tickets: Adults $25, children $10, available by phone at 644-2111, online at andersonsymphony.org or at the door.