WHEELING - A sparkling vocalist, a sky filled with stars and fireworks, and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra performing a host of favorites under the baton of Andre Raphel - what better way to usher in the Labor Day holiday than at Oglebay's Anne Kuchinka Amphitheatre with all that and more.
The annual Music Under the Stars concert will feature special guest vocalist Christiane Noll at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31, singing Broadway favorites "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Till There Was You," "Johnny One Note," "I Got Rhythm/Fascinatin' Rhythm," "Send in the Clowns" and "Cabaret."
A Broadway veteran with Tony and Drama Desk award nominations as well as a Helen Hayes award for her portrayal of Mother in "Ragtime," Noll has appeared in "Chapline," "Urinetown," "The Mambo Kings," "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues," "Jekyll & Hyde," "Grease," "Miss Saigon" and "South Pacific." She is a frequent guest soloist with symphony orchestras around the world.
"Christiane has a sparkling voice and vivacious stage persona. She has appeared with the orchestra on one other occasion for a Bravo Broadway concert on the Pops Series. As such, I thought it would be neat to have her return and sing Broadway and classic American songs," Raphel, music director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, said.
"This concert is unique because it occurs during Labor Day weekend. It represents for many the last gasp for summer and at the same time a look toward a new beginning for the fall season. As an open-air concert, the tradition of playing at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheatre at Oglebay creates a feeling of connection with the community as well as a way of welcoming visitors to the area," Raphel said.
"The orchestra also will perform "Variations on America," "Fiddle Faddle," "Pavane From Symphonette No. 2," "Coronation March," "Polovstian Dances," "Finlandia," "Mambo" from "West Side Story Symphonic Dances," "Capriccio Italien" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"Families can bring a picnic and and enjoy a free evening of symphonic music at Oglebay under the stars," said Bruce Wheeler, executive director of the Wheeling Symphony. "I like Music Under the Stars because it's a kick-off to our season. MUTS is also the beginning of our Buy One Get One new subscriber offer. A new subscriber to the Wheeling Symphony may purchase any three, four or seven concert package and get an equal value seat at no charge and qualify for a discount on Symphony on Ice Tickets."
Looking toward the upcoming season, Raphel noted, "The 2014-15 season will be one of the most interesting from a programmatic perspective in quite a few years. From standard composers such as Wagner and Brahms on opening night to leading composers of our time such as Arvo Part, it will be a fascinating process of discovery for listeners. I'm particularly excited about Roberto Sierra's composer residency in Wheeling and introducing Michael Ludwig to audiences with Barber's gorgeous Violin Concerto. The return of Symphony on Ice will fill a substantial musical void for the orchestra during the holiday season and help in underlining the concept of music that connects us."
The Aug. 31 Music Under the Stars concert begins at 7:30 p.m. It will be preceded by an appearance by a performance by the Suzuki Strings under the direction of Janet Sparks, from 6:20-7 p.m.
Fireworks will light up the sky immediately following the concert, weather permitting. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at the Capitol Theatre. Visit the symphony's Facebook page for an update.
For tickets to a pre-concert veranda party at Oglebay, that begins at 5 p.m., call 304-232-6191.