By Joseph Pratt
The Portsmouth Wind Symphony has been tuning up for another high note of a season with many standout musical performances, from formal concert events to public shows of national pride during the annual Fourth of July concert.
The organization is only a few rehearsals into its season and the members are all welcoming to new faces.
“The Portsmouth Wind Symphony is great for folks who are musicians and enjoyed playing in high school and college, and would like to step back up into that role,” Director Terry Thompson said. “Music is the soul of a community and this community is so lucky have a local band like the Portsmouth Wind Symphony and a group like the Portsmouth Area Chorale. You don’t see groups like these in small towns very often.”
Thompson said that the group welcomes musicians of all levels of talent, from those who play regularly to those who haven’t played in years, maybe even decades.
“We welcome any musician to join us, whether you are a brass and wind instrument or a percussionist,” Thompson said. “We rehearse every Monday at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.”
Thompson is beginning his second season as director and says his first season went wonderfully.
“It went splendidly and I feel like it is such a fortunate experience for me,” Thompson said. “I am lucky to make such beautiful music with these talented individuals, who are also very fun to be around.”
The first of the season’s concerts will be held October 4. The event will be held at 3 p.m. at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. The theme to the concert will be jazz, with a show entitled “All That Jazz,” and will feature jazz from the Dixieland Era to more modern touches. The show will also feature solo artist Gary Billups, who will be playing the saxophone. In commemoration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, the group will also feature many of his works by guest jazz singers.
The second concert of the season will be the annual Christmas concert, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19. The band will be joined by the Portsmouth Civic Chorale to perform Christmas holiday favorites.
The season will continue on Sunday, April 19, with a concert entitled “Trumpets to the Fore.” The show will, as the title suggests, focus on all things trumpet. There will be many trumpet soloists from the regional area. A unique touch to the concert will have area high school students, who play trumpet, performing with the group.
The performing season will be wrapped up on July 4, during the annual Fourth of July celebration. The concert will run 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m in Tracy Park. The timing of the concert is arranged so people can then walk to the riverfront and watch the firework display above Ohio and Kentucky.
“We have had two rehearsals so far and I am excited about where we’ve started,” Thompson said. “We are ready and the band already sounds good, so we will have a great concert ready to go on September 4.”
The Portsmouth Wind Symphony has also lowered ticket prices this season.
“We also wanted to make the shows more affordable, so that everyone in the community can enjoy the music,” Thompson said. “To do so, we have lowered our prices and hope they make things better for the local music enthusiasts.”
Costs for the paid performances this year are $10 for general admission. $5 discounted tickets are also available for seniors and students ages 12 to college. Admission is free for students under 12 and the entire Fourth of July concert is free as well.
For more information on the organization, look it up on Facebook or its website, www.portsmouthwindsymphony.com.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
The Portsmouth Wind Symphony performing in the annual Fourth of July concert.