Iconic Sorg Opera House backdrop for new slate of concerts

The Sorg Opera House, seen in September 2017. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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The Sorg Opera House, seen in September 2017. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Following two concerts last fall, the newly renovated Sorg Opera House in Middletown will host a string of spring and summer concerts, beginning with The Dizzy Gillespie Centennial on Saturday, April 7, hosted by the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.

“I feel very lucky to feature the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. I’ve seen them perform at The Redmoor in Cincinnati, and they knocked me out. They do a Dizzy Gillespie show in a big band format. I think it’s going to be a fantastic evening,” said Chuck Miller, board president/chair of the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group (SORG).

Explore PHOTOS: Inside the revitalization of Middletown’s historic Sorg Opera House

Miller said volunteers have spent countless hours helping to renovate the theater. To date, over the last several years, volunteer crews have removed debris, along with the old theater seating, installed the donated seats from Cincinnati Music Hall, installation of the theater curtain, plumbing repairs, sprinkler-system repairs as well as on-going patching, priming and painting and more.

“Last fall, we had two concerts. We had to bring the building up to temporary occupancy standards with the City of Middletown, and that was a long haul to get there, but we did it,” Miller said.

SORG is an all-volunteer nonprofit that owns and manages the Sorg Opera House. The Sorg Opera House is a historic theater located at 63 S. Main St. in Middletown. Sorg has capacity to seat about 700 guests on the first floor, and up to around 1,000 with use of balcony seating. Proceeds from the concerts benefit Sorg’s renovation fund. For more information, visit www.sorgoperahouse.org. Tickets for the upcoming concerts are available at www.cincyticket.com.

“We are trying to bring a variety of content to the theater, content that we think fits the building, because of its stature, it’s age and its size. So as far as these first shows, we know big band sounds fantastic, and it looks great, hence the Gillespie show and the Ellington show,” Miller said.

Other shows like Blue Birds Big Band and G. Miles & the Hitmen will introduce classic rhythm and rhythm and blues, and we think it will do well,” he said.

“We can’t do everything at once, but we do look forward to bringing in bluegrass and classical music down the road. We have some on the books already, so we are trying to bring in a variety of content,” Miller said.

Upcoming concerts at Sorg Opera House:

The Dizzy Gillespie Centennial, Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m. The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra will celebrate the songs of Dizzy Gillespie with an evening of jazz and big band sounds. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Blue Birds Big Band and G. Miles & the Hitmen will come together on stage on Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m. for "Tradin' Tunes!," a horn-driven evening of R&B and funk. All-ages show. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Duke Ellington birthday celebration/benefit on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Cincinnati's famed Blue Wisp Big Band will perform a collection of Duke Ellington tunes for this memorable concert. All-ages show. Ticket-holders receive a pair of beverage tickets at the door. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of the show.

• Concertgoers won't want to miss this special evening as John Kay celebrates 50 years with Steppenwolf on Saturday, May 5 at 8:30 p.m. $30 reserved seats are on sale now.

• The Dayton Jazz Orchestra will perform on the Sorg stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, following Downtown Middletown Inc's. Women, Wine and Chocolate Walk. Tickets will go on sale this week at www.cincyticket.com

• Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16 at 8 p.m. as The Monday Night Big Band celebrates the music of Count Basei and Les Brown at the Sorg Opera House. Tickets will go on sale soon.

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