Being able to be in more than one place at the same time might seem like a futuristic dream, but it will soon be a reality for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. For the next two weeks they will play a series of 18 free outdoor concerts in multiple venues at the same time.
Sept. 11-20, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s Community Concerts series unfolds at venues around the Columbus area, featuring performances by 20-piece chamber orchestras of CSO musicians as well as string quartets and woodwind quintets.
All performances will take place outdoors under safety protocols that include hand sanitizing stations, physical distancing and wearing masks, and all of the concerts on the two-week series are free, but require advance registration.
According to CSO Executive Director Denise Rehg, the Community Concerts series comes less than a year after the orchestra’s board of trustees passed a strategic plan calling for the orchestra to become more of a community asset.
The Community Concerts series, Rehg says, gives the CSO an opportunity to carry out its strategic plan in service to the Columbus community.
“When we passed that strategic plan, it really was about us demonstrating the power of music as it related to inspiring and building community. People are so hungry for this, and we absolutely want to demonstrate to the community how we want to be there for them and how we can be part of the healing process through these really very, very difficult times. We want to bring something positive back into the mix.”
The CSO is able to offer free admission to the Community Concerts because of support from Nationwide Insurance, the presenting sponsor of the Community Concerts series. Nationwide is normally the sponsor of Picnic with the Pops, which had to be canceled this summer because of the pandemic.
However, Nationwide allowed the CSO to redirect the financial support for Picnic with the Pops to support the Community Concerts series. And community concert tickets are underwritten by financial support from at least 20 other companies and individual donors, according to Rehg.
CSO musicians in chamber-sized orchestras will perform four different programs at the various venues over the series. Conducted by CSO principal cellist Luis Biava, “Light Classics” will feature works by Grieg, Dvorak, Grainger, Strauss and others. Biava and CSO Concertmaster Joanna Frankel will lead “Strings of the CSO,” featuring Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Britten’s Simple Symphony and other string orchestra masterworks.
In “Patriotic Pops,” CSO Assistant Conductor Andrés Lopera will conduct American classics, including marches by John Philip Sousa, a favorite movie theme by Henry Mancini and other works. Lopera also will lead “A Night at the Movies,” featuring its from the silver screen by Mancini, Scott Joplin, Bizet, Mozart and others.
In addition to the chamber orchestra concerts, a CSO String Quartet and Woodwind Quintet will perform repertoire to be announced from the stage.
Many of the performances on the September Community Concerts series reached maximum audience capacity before tonight’s series-opening concert.
Here is the complete list of Columbus Symphony Orchestra outdoor Community Concerts:
Friday, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m., Delaware Christian Church, 2280 W. William Street, Delaware: Light Classics
Friday, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m., National Veterans Memorial and Museum, 300 W. Broad St., Columbus: Patriotic Pops
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2 p.m., Ohio History Connection, Ohio Village, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus: Light Classics
Saturday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Bevelhymer Park, New Albany: A Night at the Movies
Saturday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Gravity Project, 500 W. Broad St., Columbus: CSO String Quartet
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Polaris Fashion Place, 1500 Polaris Parkway, Columbus: A Night at the Movies
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m., McConnell Arts Center, 777 Evening St., Worthington: Light Classics
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., Columbus: CSO String Quartet
Friday, Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m., National Veterans Memorial and Museum, 300 W. Broad St., Columbus: CSO Woodwind Quintet
Friday, Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m., Coffman Park, Dublin: Patriotic Pops
Friday, Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m., Phenix Banquet Center, 2101 Noe Bixby Rd., Columbus: Strings of the CSO
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m., King Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus: CSO String Quartet
Saturday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m., Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn, 5851 E. Walnut St., Westerville: Strings of the CSO
Saturday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m., Darby House, 801 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway: A Night at the Movies
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2 p.m., Sunpoint Park, Gahanna: Patriotic Pops
Sunday, Sept. 20, 3 p.m., Somerset Park, Somerset: Strings of the CSO
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2 p.m., Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., Columbus: CSO Woodwind Quintet