Wheeling Symphony Orchestra to Kick Off 90th Season

Wheeling — Wheeling Symphony Orchestra announces its annual Labor Day program, Music Under the Stars, featuring guest artists, Hit Play and Nathan Strasser, and conducted by new music director, John Devlin.

The program will feature music through the decades on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater, Oglebay Park, Wheeling. This concert is free and open to the public.

The concert promises to have guests on their feet with classical favorites, a world-premiere commission and pop hits throughout the decades. Special guest appearances include student musicians from the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra. The public is encouraged to come out and welcome Devlin — the symphony’s ninth music director — and enjoy an evening under the stars at Oglebay Park.

“I am incredibly excited to be conducting my first concert as music director of the Wheeling Symphony on such a special occasion: the 90th anniversary of the organization,” Devlin said. “Wheeling is a city with a deeply rooted history, and the orchestra is such a large part of that story. We will be performing in the same space at Oglebay where the orchestra first played so many decades ago. Throughout the evening, musical tributes will be paid to that first concert and to the decades that followed.”

Devlin said the program will open with Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, the first piece ever performed by the WSO.

“For this and for several of the other pieces on the program, we are pleased to welcome members of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra to the stage,” Devlin said. “This ‘side-by-side’ experience for our students will be one they never forget. We will then be joined by the band Hit Play as we present special arrangements of popular music through the decades. The first half will close with Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue, with piano soloist Nate Strasser, himself a native of Wheeling. The second half will open with an important artistic moment, the premiere of Strasser’s new piece, ‘For the Love of Music,’ commissioned by the WSO for this anniversary concert. Then, as the show comes to an end, Hit Play will return with hits from the ’90s through today.”

Music Under the Stars has been a Labor Day tradition for thousands of area residents. This year’s events begin at 5 p.m. with the Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary hosting the annual Veranda reception on the Burton Porch at Oglebay Park. Enjoy beer, wine, soda and hors d’oeuvres at the original location of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s first concert.

Attendees can also enjoy additional dinner concessions, food trucks, an ice cream sundae bar, free BudgetSaver twin pops sponsored by The Ziegenfelder Company, and kids activities in the formal gardens starting at 6 p.m. Wheeling Country Day School’s choir will perform at 7 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“We know that this will be an unforgettable evening of music, and also of celebration,” Devlin said. “Please join us as the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra turns 90– I look forward to seeing you at the Symphony!”

In case of inclement weather, please check Wheeling Symphony’s website and Facebook pages for more information.

Audiences should come to Oglebay Park earlier in the day to take advantage of their Labor Day activities. For more information about Oglebay’s events, visit Oglebay.com.

Music under the Stars is generously supported by sponsors Wheeling Hospital, C.A. House Music and Reisbeck’s Food Markets.

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