Submitted by Olympia Symphony Orchestra

After a 16-month hiatus from live symphonic performances, the Olympia Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage with two free outdoor concerts this summer. The first, an Olympia tradition since 2006, will take place on Sunday, July 25 at 6 p.m. on the lawn of the Capitol Campus. The second, a new adventure and partnership, will take place on Sunday, August 8 at 1 p.m. at the Tenino Rock Quarry Pool.

Both concerts are free to the public and will feature almost 50 musicians of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, performing for the first time together since February 9, 2020, and without former Music Director Huw Edwards, who retired from the OSO in July 2020. “It’s an honor to guest conduct for the OSO, a group filled with my friends and colleagues. The excitement of being together as a full orchestra and to be able to share live classical music with the community is incredible after so long without it,” says guest conductor Joe Dyvig, Olympia School District Music Coordinator and Olympia High School Orchestra Director. In 2020-2021 the OSO fortified its relationship with music educators, providing direct educational support and programming while music education was delivered virtually. The invitation for Dyvig to lead the orchestra for its “reopening” concert is an expression of the OSO’s commitment to educational partnership and community collaboration.

Dyvig selected music that will evoke feelings of nostalgia and joy. The programs will feature music familiar to attendees of Olympia Symphony outdoor concerts of previous years. Patriotic favorites, such as Stars and Stripes Forever and the Armed Forces Salute, will set the stage with familiarity and tradition. Audiences will recognize selections from West Side Story, as well as Beethoven’s iconic first movement of the Fifth Symphony (originally programmed on the pandemic-canceled 2020 season finale). Also featured are classical favorites made famous in old cartoons. Kids and adults familiar with Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry episodes will recognize the animated and playful tunes.

“The OSO is honored and excited to contribute to celebrating the emergence of our community from the pandemic shutdowns. Live music is a healing force to bring us together again. What better music for this than the artistic works that have uplifted spirits through the ages?,” says Bill Tweit, Olympia Symphony Orchestra Board President. Executive Director Jennifer Hermann adds, “This concert is as much a gift to our community as it is a gift to our musicians. They have been waiting eagerly to play together again, so we jumped at the opportunity as soon as the state reopened.” In June, Mayor of Tenino, Wayne Fornier, proposed the idea of performing in the temporarily-drained Tenino Rock Quarry Pool, and the OSO received permission on July 6 to perform on the Capitol Campus.

Attendees should bring chairs, blankets, and umbrellas for shade when attending the outdoor concerts, which will run approximately an hour and fifteen minutes each. Masking and social distancing are encouraged for unvaccinated guests. Portable restrooms are available at the Capitol Campus, and restroom facilities are available at the Tenino Rock Quarry Pool. Parking at both locations is limited, and street parking is available.

The Olympia Symphony remained active throughout the pandemic, and the 2020-2021 season featured virtual concerts, live “curbside” performances by small ensembles, innovations such as musical telegrams and on-demand “Symphony Stroll” recordings at city parks, and a virtual recording of Pomp & Circumstance that has been used in commencement ceremonies around the world. Most recently, members of the OSO and Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) performed together as attendees at Olympia Downtown Alliance’s LoveOly Summer Fest took turns conducting the musicians. Plans for a series of seven concerts at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts are underway for the 21-22 season, featuring four international finalists competing for the position of Music Director.

The summer concerts are supported by Commencement Bank, Capital Heating & Cooling, William B. Pope Attorney at Law, Family of Keith Playstead, PARC Foundation of Thurston County, Washington State Arts Commission, and generous pandemic relief funds from the SBA. Individual contributions are appreciated and can be made at the Olympia Symphony Orchestra website.

For more information, visit Olympia Symphony Orchestra website or email oso@olympiasymphony.org.

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