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Symphony fans savor sweet summer sounds at Smithgall Arts Center
Atlanta Symphony marks 40th year at Gainesville show
Joseph Young, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor, pauses between songs to explain the next piece to the crowd at Saturday’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performance at hosted by The Arts Council of Gainesville. - photo by Alexander Popp

The Arts Council and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 40th annual Gainesville show Saturday with a night of light orchestral pieces under the stars at the Smithgall Arts Center.

During the performance, players led by ASO Assistant Conductor Joseph Young displayed a wide range of American themed pieces in honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. The show began with a slow resonating piece by Edvard Grieg, titled “Morning Mood,” but quickly the band moved on to lighter pieces like the string extensive number, “Fiddle Faddle” by American composer Leroy Anderson.

The set ended with the traditional operatic piece, “The Barber of Seville,” inspired by its prominence in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, according to conductor Joseph Young. This is Young’s second time leading the annual Gainesville performance.

“We are always pleased to bring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to Gainesville,” said Art’s Council Executive Director Gladys Wyant. “People might not be aware that they have won at least 27 Grammy Awards. And when you think about Grammy Award winners you probably don’t necessarily think of a symphonic orchestra. But they are just world class.”

Wyant explained that the outdoor venue and the summer scenery played a big part in the choice of the compositions played, giving people a different take on orchestral music.

The show was kicked off by a few words from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra executive director, Jennifer Barlament, who stated how pleased the orchestra was to still be performing in Gainesville after 40 years.

“It’s a tremendous tradition of artistic excellence,” said Barlament. “But really our mission is all about connecting with people. So it’s fantastic to be able to come out to areas around the city of Atlanta, and give people the opportunity to hear the orchestra.”

Leading up to the show, many concertgoers used the event as an opportunity to picnic on the Smithgall Arts Center Lawn, bringing blankets chairs and full meals. One group with impressive spread of wine and appetizers said that they had been coming to see the orchestra’s Gainesville performance for the last four years.

“Each time it’s entirely different, they have such a great repertoire,” said Kirk Watkins.

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