Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Announces 94th Season, ‘Hometown’ | Local News

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – For its 2022-23 season, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra is bringing it home.

The symphony orchestra has announced its 94th season, ‘Hometown’, and it’s a season of music that celebrates Johnstown and the region through programs featuring artists who grew up here, artists who live here, fiddle solo JSO and an abundance of partnerships.

“We chose ‘Hometown’ as our theme because we celebrate Johnstown artists, Johnstown arts organizations and the entire region and what it has to offer,” said James Blachly, Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra. “It’s a way to celebrate what makes this place such a great community to raise a family, live and thrive in.”

At 5:30 p.m. on September 30, “inSPIRED: JSO at The Grand Halle” will premiere at The Grand Halle on Broad Street, 306 Broad St., in the Cambria City section of Johnstown. The chamber music program will feature violinist Zelie Eger and JSO concertmaster Maureen Conlon Gutierrez.

“It’s a way to relax, recharge, and be inspired at the end of a long week at work,” Blachly said.

“We are excited about the timing of this concert as a different way of bringing our music to our audience.”

“Homecoming: Opera Returns with Shawn Roth and Ravel’s ‘Bolero'” premieres at 7:30 p.m. on October 22 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the Pitt-Johnstown campus in Richland Township.

The evening will feature emerging tenor opera singer Shawn Roth, a Johnstown native and graduate of Richland High School, as well as an all-star choir from area high schools anchored by Johnstown Symphony Chorus.

The concert will also feature Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring opera back because we’ve heard over the years that people would like us to bring something like Opera Fest back,” Blachly said. “It also highlights local high school choirs. It will be a big party.

“Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf” will be offered at 3 p.m. Nov. 12 at PPAC and 3 p.m. Nov. 13 at Somerset High School, 645 S. Columbia Ave. The concert will feature Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” as well as dance and original choreography from the Johnstown Concert Ballet.

“So many people first fell in love with music or started playing instruments because of listening to this piece,” Blachly said. “It’s a wonderful way to introduce children and others to the symphony for the first time.”

Celebrate the holidays with “Home for the Holidays with the JSO” at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 10 at PPAC. The concert will feature classics and Christmas carols and will feature the Johnstown Symphony Chorus.

“We found it to be one of the most meaningful concerts we’ve put on, and people constantly say they can’t have Christmas without the symphony,” Blachy said.

At 3 p.m., January 15, “A State Theater Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.” will be presented at the State Theater of Johnstown, 336 Main St., downtown Johnstown.

The concert will feature works by American composers Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Florence Price and Jessie Montgomery.

“I’ve been excited to perform at the State Theater since I first saw the space in 2016, and we finally have the opportunity to perform there,” Blachly said.

“This concert builds on the success of our invitation last year to present a concert in partnership with the NAACP at Christ Centered Community Church in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.”

“Hometown Who’s Who: Broadway star Kathy Voytko and Johns-town’s Got Talent” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at PPAC. The concert will feature Voytko, a Johnstown native and Bishop McCort Catholic High School graduate who made his career on Broadway. She will perform selections from “The Music Man”.

Additionally, musicians of all ages are invited to audition for the opportunity to perform with the orchestra.

“We are delighted that she (Voytko) has accepted our invitation, and she will be returning to Johnstown after her triumphant performances on Broadway as part of ‘Music Man,'” Blachly said.

“We want to celebrate her in her hometown and discover her talent here, as well as the talent of many people we don’t yet know who live in the area who can audition to play with the symphony.”

At 7:30 p.m. on March 11, “The Pastoral of Beethoven and Sibelius with Maureen Conlon Gutierrez” will be presented at the PPAC. Conlon Gutierrez will perform the “Violin Concerto” by Jean Sibelius.

The concert will also feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral Symphony’.

“The hometown of this gig is the feeling you get when you come back to the Johnstown area and find yourself in the countryside,” Blachy said.

“The concert centers around the talent of our incredible concertmaster Maureen Conlon Gutierrez, who has become one of western Pennsylvania’s most prominent musicians.”

At 5:30 p.m. on April 21, 2023, the second “inSPIRED: JSO at The Grand Halle” will premiere at The Grand Halle on Broad Street.

The concert will feature the symphony’s wind quintet.

The season will conclude at 7:30 p.m. on May 6, 2023 with Braham’s “Dwelling Place: ‘A German Requiem’ and Sounds of Johnstown” at PPAC. The concert will pair Johannes Brahms’ timeless favorite with a new commission from composer Tommy Dougherty, whose piece “Blue Steel Cranes” was premiered as part of the 20th 9/11 Remembrance in 2021.

The show will also feature the Johnstown Symphony Chorus and choral groups from IUP and Pitt-Johnstown.

Grammy-winning soprano Sarah Brailey and internationally acclaimed baritone Tyler Duncan will be the soloists.

“Braham’s Requiem is considered by some to be the finest example of music written for choir and orchestra, and it is a piece that I believe will be very powerful, meaningful and inspiring to our audiences,” Blachly said.

“It’s a gift to the comfort community, and it’s a unique requiem that’s written for the living and to carry us through. That’s the only affirmation.

In recognition of the season, Blachly will be presenting it at 6 p.m. April 22 at Gallery on Gazebo, 140 Gazebo Place, downtown Johnstown.

The public is invited to attend the free program to find out more about the concerts.

Full concert descriptions as well as ticketing and package information are available at www.johnstownsymphony.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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