MSO to celebrate conductor’s milestone

Carmon DeLeone as been conducting for 50 years.

Conducted by Carmon DeLeone, the Middletown Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will present “Matinee Musicals” on Sunday at Dave Finkelman Auditorium at Miami University Middletown. As the last concert of the season, this milestone performance will celebrate DeLeone’s 50th anniversary as a conductor.

“May marks my 50th anniversary year in this business of orchestral conducting. My first experience in this profession was in the pit for the musical, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ at the University of Cincinnati. It was the first thing I conducted, officially. So we thought it might be fun to celebrate the semicentennial of that event with a concert performance of ‘Birdie,’ ” said Carmon DeLeone, the symphony’s musical director.

He first took the stage as conductor on May 7-9, 1964, at the University of Cincinnati’s Wilson Auditorium for “Bye Bye Birdie,” DeLeone said.

This year marks Carmon DeLeone’s 32nd season with the Middletown Symphony Orchestra and his 50th anniversary as a conductor. This season also marks his 45th anniversary year as music director of the Cincinnati Ballet, and after 25 years as music director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, he now serves as its conductor laureate. Among his many awards and accolades, he is a proud recipient of Cincinnati’s prestigious Post-Corbett Award for excellence in the arts.

Following the concert, MSO and Middletown Symphony Women’s Association will host a reception and celebration dinner at Miami University’s Miriam Knoll Community Center, which will further honor and pay tribute to DeLeone. More than 150 RSVP’d guests are expected to attend. Dr. Walter Roehll will emcee the dinner.

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DeLeone said, “The star and director of that show at UC so many years ago was the fantastically talented Mr. Lee Roy Reams, who went on to star in multiple Broadway shows. As a director and a performer, he’s still singing up a storm, and entertaining all over the world. So, fortunately for us, Lee Roy will return to our stage for ‘Matinee Musicals’ and help to celebrate this milestone for both of us.”

Reams, a friend and former classmate of DeLeone’s from College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), is a multitalented musical theater actor, singer, dancer, choreographer and director who has a remarkable career of his own. He’s had the honor of performing for four U.S presidents, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Reams will star in the second half of the program as a featured vocalist and narrator for a concert version of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

During the afternoon concert, sponsored by the Middletown Community Foundation, Maestro DeLeone will lead the MSO in an afternoon of selections from several of America’s best-loved musicals, including “Funny Girl,” “Man of La Mancha” “The King And I” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

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