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Symphonic sounds drift from Atlanta orchestra
Musicians tap out tunes for summer fest
Jere Flint will conduct the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during its concert Friday night at The Arts Council’s Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville. This will be Flint’s final appearance in Gainesville since he is retiring at the end of the season.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in concert

When: Gates open at 6 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St., Gainesville

Cost (plus tax): $35 adult, $32 senior, $28 student; tables (up to 8) $320

More info: 770-534-2787 or

For the 39th year, locals will gather downtown for The Arts Council’s Summer MusicFest Series and kick off the season with the sounds of the “Star-Spangled Banner” from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, June 20, at the Smithgall Arts Center, 311 Spring St. SW, Gainesville.

“They always have the national anthem to kick it off,” said Gladys Wyant, executive director of The Arts Council.

The concert originated as a Thanksgiving weekend special in Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium, but after many years the building was booked and the orchestra had a gala the same weekend. Because of the strong partnership between The Arts Council and ASO, however, the music played on in a less-formal setting as it moved to the lawn at Smithgall Arts Center.

“We thought it would be a great idea to bring them outside under the stars, to build new audiences and make it more inviting to younger people, especially children,” Wyant said.

The musical program also appeals to folks of all ages, with selections ranging from Palchelbel’s “Canon in D” to Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

“Some tunes are similar,” Wyant said. “But it’s always a very varied program. There’s something for everybody and the outside concert has a little bit lighter fare than the inside venue.”

The event also marks conductor Jere Flint’s last appearance in Gainesville, as he is set to retire at the end of the season.

“He has a really great sense of humor, so the Gainesville audience really enjoys him,” Wyant said.

Patrons may bring picnic baskets, coolers, chairs and blankets or order meals to-go from local restaurants and more. Food will not be available for purchase at the event.

In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to Pearce Auditorium.

The Summer MusicFest Series will continue outdoors at Smithgall Arts Center in July with a “Patriotic Pops” concert featuring the Northwinds Symphonic Band on July 3 to celebrate Independence Day.

The concert will feature several patriotic pieces and will honor Ron Evans, the symphonic band’s founder and former conductor who died in February.

The show differs from ASO because no string instruments are involved. However, Northwinds will feature four vocalists, Jonathan Jackson, Michelle Martin, Steve Coldiron and Steven Rushing.

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