Symphony orchestra announces big plans for ‘17-’18

James Blachly, conductor for the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, tells an audience at the Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center about the upcoming season’s concerts on April 19. Staff photo by Cody McDevitt.

By CODY McDEVITT
codym@dailyamerican.com

The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra has announced its upcoming concert season schedule. Conductor James Blachly said an emphasis will be placed on the connection between the city and the symphony as its theme throughout its 2017-18 season.

“We will be highlighting our history, our present and our future together,” Blachly said.

It will be called “My Johnstown Symphony.” Blachly and other symphony members held an event at the Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center that included food, cocktails and a presentation by their director and conductor April 19.

The season will kick off on Sept. 16 with “A Night in Venice,” which will feature Italian food and music connected to that city.
“Like Johnstown, Venice was founded because of its location near the water,” Blachly said. “We will be celebrating that unique city with a great party with costumes.”

On Oct. 20 they will have an open performance at the Cambria Iron Works, which keeps with the theme of the season, connecting Johnstown’s heritage with the symphony. It’s to be free and open to the public. They plan on inviting old steelworkers back for the performance.

On Oct. 21 they are to perform the “American Music Festival: Part I Past and Future,” which will showcase music by Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland among others.

On Nov. 11 they are to have the second part of the American music festival, and it’s to be a program commemorating Veterans Day. It is to also feature a performance of “Appalachian Spring,” by Copland.

“It’s an important composition in American history, and it tells what we think America can be,” Blachly said.

The symphony is to have its Christmas Choir Spectacular on Dec. 16. They are to have a “JSO Pops” concert Feb. 10 that includes eight decades of Broadway music, part of which will be from “West Side Story” and “South Pacific.”

The symphony is to perform the North American premiere of Ethel Smyth’s “The Prison” on April 7. On May 12 of next year they are to close out their season with “Symphonic Pictures,” which will blend various art forms to accompany the music.

Other special concerts include the traditional Mother’s Day performance in Somerset and a Fourth of July Fireworks concert at Point Stadium this summer. They also plan to have April young people’s concerts for fifth-grade students.

And perhaps the highlight of the upcoming season involves Josh Gallagher, a Cambria County native who rose to fame after his appearances on NBC’s “The Voice.”