January 19, 2018
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Augusta Symphony Orchestra announces Pops Concert

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The Augusta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is excited to invite the community to a one-night only 1930s pops concert and silent auction at Cumston Hall in Monmouth on Saturday, March 16th at 7 PM.

The 1930s was a swinging decade, packed with new sounds on the stage, screen and radio. Some of Broadway’s most popular shows premiered in the 30s, such as Anything Goes and Porgy and Bess. The radio hit its zenith of popularity, with more than 80% of Americans owning a set by 1939 while Hollywood entered its “Golden Age”, producing one hit film after another, hoping to distract its audiences from the struggles of the Great Depression.

In addition to the timeless music being created in the States, overseas in Russia, a children’s classic that would also stand the test of time came to life. In 1936, Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned by the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow and Russian music teacher and director of the Moscow Musical Theater for Children, Natalya Sats, to create a new musical symphony for children. In a breathtaking four days, Prokofiev produced the children’s classic Peter and the Wolf.

On March 16th, the ASO will present a concert filled with the popular tunes of the 30s and a special performance of Peter and the Wolf, narrated by broadcaster, actor, and singer, Suzanne Nance. Lauded as the “Queen of Classical”, Suzanne is currently the Music Director for Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN). Suzanne has performed with opera companies, orchestras and musicians in the US and in Europe, most recently in Prague, London, Philadelphia, Chicago, and across Maine. A recipient of the David Leibig Memorial Grant and Robert J. Lurtsema Scholarship Award (AMPPR) for performance of and dedication to classical music, Nance has enjoyed performances on PBS and NPR as well as a guest appearance on Good Morning America. Currently, she produces and hosts the weekday morning classical music program from 9 a.m. to noon on MPBN Radio.

Selections from the 30s will include Summertime, a medley of Cole Porter Favorites, highlights from Show Boat, The Way You Look Tonight, and I Got Rhythm.

ASO music director, Paul Ross, conducts. Mr. Ross has been principal cellist with the Winnipeg, Orlando, Quebec, Portland, Boston Ballet and the Boston Opera orchestras. He has also performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony. He was conductor of the University of Southern Maine Symphony, the Bowdoin Symphony Orchestra, and the founder of the Mid-Coast Symphony. He has also guest conducted the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra, the Portsmouth Youth Orchestra and the University of New Hampshire Symphony. Mr. Ross is the founding cellist of the Portland String Quartet and current music director of the Maine Youth Orchestra.

The evening will also include a silent auction, featuring items such as an overnight stay at the Quality Inn Evergreen Inn and Suites in Augusta; an overnight stay at the Hampton Inn in Augusta; an overnight stay at the Country Inn at Camden/Rockport; Alignment, rotation and nitrogen treatment from Don Foshay’s Discount Tires in Hallowell; Gift certificate to the Liberal Cup in Hallowell; 2 framed and signed paintings; a ceramic fruit bowl made by award-winning artist, Irene Helitzer; and 2 hand-knitted bags.

Founded shortly after World War I, the ASO has had the privilege of sharing great classic and modern works of symphonic music with the central Maine region for nearly 90 years. The ASO is dedicated to enriching the arts scene of the community by delivering the music of talented local musicians to the public. This vibrant community orchestra includes individuals spanning all age groups and walks of life, from high school students to doctors and active retirees.

Future performances of the ASO include two performances of Beethoven’s Symphony #8 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto #23, featuring piano soloist Virginia Eskin. There will be two performances, both at 7 PM, the first on Saturday, April 27th, at the High Street Congregational Church in Auburn, and then on Sunday, April 28th, at the Hope Baptist Church in Manchester. Stay tuned for more information on the joint concert with the Maine Youth Orchestra this May.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased online by going to www.brownpapertickets.com and entering “Cumston” under event.

If you are interested in finding out more about the ASO or auditioning to join the orchestra, visit www.asomaine.org or email estherpearl67@gmail.com