Middletown Symphony Orchestra kicks off final season Nov. 12

Angelique Clay is a soprano. CONTRIBUTED
Angelique Clay is a soprano. CONTRIBUTED

Show includes concert version of ‘Porgy and Bess.’

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

Conducted by Carmon DeLeone, the Middletown Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 75th anniversary and final season with “A Grand Finale!” themed season in 2016-17. The first concert of the season, “Porgy and Bess in Concert!,” will be held at Dave Finkelman Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 12.

“We are calling the concert ‘Porgy and Bess in Concert!’ but, in fact, it’s an all-Gershwin program. We also opened the season last year with an all-Gershwin program,” DeLeone said.

DeLeone, the symphony’s musical director, said the George Gershwin inspired concert will feature two phenomenal vocal soloists during the second half of the program, Michael Preacely (baritone) and Angelique Clay (soprano.) The guest soloists will be backed by The Classical Roots Community Mass Choir.

DeLeone said the second half of the concert after intermission is a concert version of “Porgy and Bess.” It’s a 40-minute presentation of tunes from “Porgy and Bess.”

“It’s going to be a wonderful combination with Michael Preacely and Angelique Clay, along with The Classical Roots Community Mass Choir,” DeLeone said.

The first half of the program will include “Swanee” by George Gershwin/Danny Frank, Arr.; “Cuban Overture” by George Gershwin and “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin.

“The evening will start with a wonderful, exciting arrangement of a pop tune, ‘Swanee,’ which was composed in 1919 by Gershwin. It was his first hit song, and we have a terrific arrangement of it that features a solo at the drum set played by Danny Frank. Danny also did this arrangement of ‘Swanee,’ ” DeLeone said.

It’s a jam-packed program with fabulous Gershwin material. Some of his very best works are represented here, DeLeone said.

The concert will also feature the 55-to-60-piece Middletown Symphony Orchestra. This year marks the 75th anniversary and final season of MSO, and DeLeone’s 35th anniversary with the orchestra.

“I think the word that sums up the feeling of all of us, is it’s rather bittersweet. We will go out on a very high note. That’s the way we thought it should be done. I designed this season very carefully with many of my very favorite artists performing with the orchestra, and also some of my very favorite pieces of music to close out this celebratory 75th Anniversary,” DeLeone said.

To carry on the MSO name and tradition in the future, The Middletown Symphony Board of Directors has voted to establish two scholarships that will be awarded annually as part of the Middletown Symphony Legacy Fund. And to ensure that DeLeone is honored and always associated with the Middletown Symphony for his 35 years with the orchestra, one of the scholarships has been designated as the Carmon DeLeone Middletown Symphony Orchestra Legacy Scholarship.

How to go

What: Middletown Symphony Orchestra will present “Porgy and Bess in Concert!”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12

Where: Dave Finkelman Auditorium, Miami University Middletown

Cost: $30 adults, $20 students

More info: 513-424-2426 or www.middletownsymphony.com/

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