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2013 Summer Elizabeth Concert

For the fifth year, The Ohio Valley Symphony will offer some free fireworks of its own to help celebrate

The free concert, July 6 at 8 pm in the Gallipolis City Park, helps celebrate the nation’s 236th birthday with a musical picnic of patriotic songs including a salute to America’s armed forces, a tribute to Martin Luther King and Sousa marches. The keystone to the evening will be Tchaikovsky’s rousing “1812 Overture.” Ray Fowler, the OVS’s founding music director, conducts.

Joining Fowler and the orchestra is the vocal group SEVEN a member of which is Gallia County’s own Phillip Armstrong.

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OVS brings sounds of Dixie to Point Pleasant

2012 Summer Elizabeth Concert The Ohio Valley Symphony

2012 Summer Elizabeth Concert
The Ohio Valley Symphony

It’ll be a hot time in the old town as the Ohio Valley Symphony kicks 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, conducts the 8 p.m. performance in Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School’s Wedge Auditorium.

The program’s sponsor is Ohio Valley Bancorp, a long-time OVS supporter.

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 hot night in Gallipolis City Park.

It won’t be 100 degrees at the concert this time, but the DUKES will bring plenty of their own heat. Bright and brassy or smooth and dark as cane syrup, the group brings a time-honored authenticity to all of the hits of Dixieland music.

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,” she said, “and good music comes in all kinds of packages. 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.

Single tickets to the Ohio Valley Symphony’s “Dukes of Dixieland” cost $22, $20 (senior) and $10 (student). Subscriptions to all five 2012-13 OVS concerts, including the always popular Christmas concert, are available for $100, $90 (senior) and $50 (student). Family subscriptions for two adults and children are $275.

Single-ticket buyers who decide they want to lock in their seats will be able to buy pro-rated subscriptions for the four remaining OVS performances at the Oct. 6 concert.

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,

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.

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2011 SUMMER ELIZABETH CONCERT – Deborah Henson-Conant

The grand finale will include the  “1812 Overture” and “Stars & Stripes Forever” complete with fireworks.

For the third straight year, the Ohio Valley Symphony will help celebrate the Fourth of July with a free concert in Gallipolis City Park.

Joining the OVS and music director Ray Fowler at 8 p.m. will be Deborah Henson-Conant, the “hip harpist” who will return to the area in October for the OVS’s season opener at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School. It will be the first time an OVS soloist has appeared twice in the same year.

“Aside from the fact that she’s perfect for a July 4 event, I’m looking at it as an opportunity,” said Fowler. “There are people who keep peeking into the Ariel and not quite cracking the door open. When they hear Deborah on July 4, though, they’ll want to hear her again.”

Henson-Conant is a composer, performer, singer, songwriter, author, cartoonist, entertainer, comedian and electric harpist — all rolled into one. She’s put on a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, opened for Ray Charles, toured with the Boston Pops and released a dozen albums from Latin jazz to Celtic to blues.

She’s also revolutionized her instrument with a custom-made, 36-string electric “harness harp.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to be back for another Fourth of July concert,” said Lora Lynn Snow, the orchestra’s executive director. “It’s a great time for the whole family, so bring some chairs and head to downtown Gallipolis.”

— Thomas Consolo

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The grand finale will include the  “1812 Overture” and “Stars & Stripes Forever” complete with fireworks.

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Bryon Stripling, The Music of Louis Armstrong from “Satchmo”

Stripling will perform the music of Louis Armstrong as seen in his Broadway show “Satchmo.” The grand finale will include the  “1812 Overture” and “Stars & Stripes Forever” complete with fireworks.

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