With the start of its season, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra is planning to bring the symphony to the city while welcoming the city to the symphony.
In celebration of the symphony’s 91st season – “Made in Johnstown” – the JSO will present its Season Opener Festival Week from Tuesday through Oct. 20, with activities that will recognize Johnstown’s culture, food and drink, traditions and talent.
Masetro James Blachly said the Season Opener Festival Week is something the symphony has been working on for more than a year.
“We wanted to start the season with a lot of energy, and having a festival of events to launch this exciting season seemed like the best way to get things going,” he said.
“We also want to highlight several different aspects of the city with this week.”
Events will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the Somerset Auxiliary of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra presents its Taste of the Laurel Highlands at Green Gables Restaurant, 7712 Somerset Pike, Jennerstown.
The annual culinary tour of the region will feature tastings from area restaurants, a cash bar, a silent auction, baskets and an online auction.
Participating restaurants include Coal Miner’s Café, Darlington Inn, Fat Squirrel, Flyin’ Lion, Grammie Mam’s Homemade Sweets, Green Gables, Haz Beanz, Kings & Queens, Pine Grill and the Somerset Country Club.
Entertainment will be provided by JSO string players Angela Brumbaugh, Allyn Lambert and Darlene Lopresti.
“Our Somerset auxiliary of the JSO has been planning this fantastic event for months,” said Jessica Satava, JSO’s executive director.
“I’m excited to have a chance to try so many area restaurants all in one place. It’s a great chance to support our orchestra and have a great night out with friends at the same time.”
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.sajso.com.
From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, the symphony will debut its Symphony Steps Out series with Symphony Steps Out: Slavic Celebration at The Phoenix Tavern, 200 Broad St., in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.
The event is a chance to meet Blachly and members of the orchestra, and hear about the opening night concert.
There will be Slavic-themed menu items, the Polish Heritage Choir, accordion player Bronco Toter and the Kolo of St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church dressed in traditional costume.
“Symphony Steps Out is a way of enriching the concert experience by creating rich cultural experiences that are drawn from the same traditions as the music we are about to perform,” Blachly said.
The Opening Night! concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.
The performance will be a Slavic season opener, featuring the Tamburitzans as they perform authentic choreography to Eastern European music for orchestra, including Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5” and George Enescu’s “Romanian Rhapsody No. 1.”
The concert will begin with Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major.”
“Dvorak is considered to be not only a hugely important Czech composer, but also the composer that brought Slavic culture music from all of Eastern Europe to truly international attention,” Blachly said.
“We perform not only his ‘8th Symphony,’ the last symphony he composed before moving to America, but his Slavonic Dances, which are inspired by a wide variety of cultures.”
Tickets are $40 for regular and
$45 for premium seating.
From noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 20, the symphony will hold auditions for its Open Mic Night at the Symphony that will be held at the Feb. 8 concert.
Singers, instrumentalists, dancers and bands are invited to audition to perform with a full symphony orchestra.
“We believe Open Mic Night is a truly novel concept, and we aren’t aware of any other orchestra trying this,” Blachly said.
“We are doing it because this season is all about going deeper into the community. I’m so excited to hear what people bring to their audition.”
The deadline to register is Thursday.
For more information on the events, call 814-535-6738 or visit www.johnstownsymphony.org.