But the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra (WASO) has been on hiatus for almost two years.
“We haven’t had a gig since November 2019, when Brulé was our special guest,” said Kris Stewart, WASO flautist and one of the four members of the WASO management team. “We definitely failed to make music.”
At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, Stewart and about 50 other WASO instrumentalists will return to their concert positions for a free performance in Worthington’s Centennial Park.
Dubbed “Red, White and Boom,” the concert’s pop format is sure to entertain any visitor – and anyone who has never sampled WASO in the past will find something to love in this more laid-back outdoor venue.
“This is 100% Americana music,” said WASO conductor Dr. Christopher Stanichar. “We’ve programmed selections that reflect America and all of its diversity, badges, patriotic moments, Hollywood touches and favorites in general. There are all kinds of things for everyone.
More precisely, Stanichar chose the ever popular theme “Pink Panther” by Henry Mancini, a play by John Williams (the march from the film “1941”), the “Colonel Bogey March”, the sensual “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson. , the concert sequel to the film “Dances with the Wolves”, a medley of the hit musical “Hamilton” and more.
Other special touches include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa, as well as the National Anthem (with singer Eric Parrish) and “Over the Rainbow” (with singer Sarah DeSmith).
“It’s really accessible to everyone,” said Stewart, noting that anyone who thinks orchestras only play “stuffy classical music” will be pleasantly surprised.
Stanichar added, “The concert settings and program selections could spark people’s interest in hearing different types of music. It doesn’t require intensive listening and WASO is an orchestra for everyone.
Building on the Wednesday night tradition of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band concerts in the park is another perk.
“When we talked about the possibility of scheduling a summer concert, we knew there was an integrated audience because of the band in town,” Stanichar said. “We all agreed it was a great idea, so here we are, ready to compose music after spending almost two years not playing. “
Speaking on behalf of the musicians, Stewart admits it’s been a long drought without concerts.
“Getting musicians and audience members together in one place is going to make us really happy,” said Stewart. “We failed to make music.”
For a professional conductor, music teacher and composer like Stanichar, who is working on composing an opening honoring WASO’s more than ten-year history, closing the pandemic has been particularly difficult.
“WASO had just started their rehearsal series in early March 2020 to practice for our May concert,” said Stanichar, who had many other musical balls in the air that were also suddenly hung. “I had all the music ready, everything was ready to go – so bam, everything was locked.”
But on the strength of vaccinations and changes in public health guidelines, the show will continue.
“There was some logistics involved in getting our gear to the park, coordinating with the musicians, incorporating new faces into the orchestra and putting on a gig with just two full rehearsals,” said Stewart, “but our first gig outdoors will be a fun way to get back to the routine of the orchestra.
Stanichar looks forward to the return of longtime musicians not only from the Worthington area, but also from Sioux Falls, SD, and the surrounding area.
“We even have a lumber player who is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” Stanichar said.
“And some former WASO musicians who are now university students will come back to join us; our management team do an incredible job of keeping in touch with everyone.
Stanichar and Stewart are hoping the dozens of people who are used to attending the band’s concerts in town on Wednesday nights plan to extend their musical evenings in the park for one more week to attend the Red event, White and Boom by WASO.
“Ride a bike or walk, come and cheer and don’t worry about getting dressed,” Stanichar suggested.
“It’s a celebration of music in all its forms – marches, jazz, Hollywood – and it will be a fun time for all of the family to sit back and relax while enjoying the crickets, the beautiful lake view and music. ”
The Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28 at Centennial Park in Worthington. The concert is free and open to the public. In case of bad weather, the concert will take place at the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.