Before the raising of the baton, before the first bow touches the strings, there will be a little beer, a lot of food and a healthy dose of community togetherness.
This weekend marks the second Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks concert of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's season but it's starting off a bit differently from most: with a street party.
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Local Festival and Concert
5:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, Robinson Center Performance Hall, Markham Street and Broadway
Tickets: $16-$68, active military and students $10, free for children with paying adult Sunday
Brandon Dorris, ASO director of marketing, says Symphony Local is a new festival, the first of what is hoped will be an annual street festival intended to strengthen ASO's ties to community organizations.
"We think if we all work together and help each other, it increases our audience, their audience. We want to be seen as a community organization and not just an arts presenter," he says.
So, the focus is local. There will be food for sale from local trucks including Count Porkula, the Arkansas Heart Hospital's food truck and Adobo-to-Go. Lost Forty Brewery will sell local craft beers. And the ASO has invited area artists and craftsmen to show off their work.
Arkansas Foodbank, a longtime partner of the ASO, will be there accepting donations.
Symphony Local was inspired in part by the annual Beethoven and Bluejeans casual concert and street party that takes place in the spring.
"It's very popular," Dorris says. "Assuming this is something our patrons enjoy, we see this as an annual thing. It'll just be a fun experience top to bottom."
Admission to the festival is free with a concert ticket and patrons must have a ticket to attend. After the festival is the concert, sponsored by the Doubletree Hotel.
Guest conductor Sarah Ioannides, in her fourth season as music director of Symphony Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash., will be on the podium for Made in America by Joan Tower; "The Moldau" and "Sarka," two movements from Bedrich Smetana's cycle of patriotic tone poems Ma Vlast (My Fatherland), and Edward Elgar's "Enigma" Variations.
"It's a Masterworks concert, which some people might have a preconception of that as being stuffy," Dorris says. "This program is really beautiful, accessible music. It's all music that was composed about the composers' homelands."
There will be two more opportunities for symphony experiences over the next several days. Ioannides and ASO CEO Christina Littlejohn will be featured in the Clinton School for Public Service Speaker Series at noon today in Sturgis Hall, 1200 President Clinton Ave. And, on Tuesday, the ASO salutes Kiril Laskarov's 20 years as concert master with "Laskarov Plays Brahms," starting at 7 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center. Violinist Joe Joyner will lead a pre-concert discussion on violin-making. Tickets are $23, $10 for active military and students.
But for the weekend, Dorris says, "Having this party, we're hoping it will just make it a fun symphony experience. We want to get people to realize that it's not stuffy. It's' beautiful, inspiring and you can come out and have fun."
Food From the Heart, the Arkansas Heart Hospital food truck, is just one of the area trucks that will sell food to hungry Arkansas Symphony Orchestra patrons at Symphony Local, a new pre-concert street festival.
Weekend on 11/08/2018
Print Headline: Orchestra trying out Symphony Local, a festival fundraiser