The Spokane Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Labor Day affair in Comstock Park on Monday at 6 p.m. Music Director Fabio Mechetti will lead the orchestra through popular classics as well as current and past Broadway hits.
Picnicking is de rigueur for this event; themed dinners with extravagant and exotic foodstuffs are not unusual. Beginning at 5, the symphony will send its judges about to locate the most attractive picnic setup, which will be awarded prizes including dinner packages and symphony tickets.
This year’s judges will be Chad Mitchell of the self-titled trio, Karen Kelly from KXLY and Miss Spokane, Victoria Nicacio.
The musical repertoire is the usual outdoor, singable, danceable, last-fling-of-summer fare. Speaking of dancing, eurythmics in the park is not illegal for those over 4 feet tall. Works such as Aaron Copland’s “Buckaroo Holiday” from his 1942 ballet “Rodeo” ought to get the cowboy boots moving as fast as the toe shoes.
One hundred years of music for the theater will be culled, from Victor Herbert to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bill Mays, a Spokane Symphony trustee who won the honor of occupying the podium at the WAMPUM auction, will direct the orchestra through the “March of the Toys” from Herbert’s popular 1903 operetta, “Babes in Toyland.”
From the other end of the spectrum, selections from “Phantom of the Opera,” Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster of the decade past, will be heard. The medley includes the title tune “Think of Me,” and “Music of the Night.”
Halfway between operetta and techno-Broadway lies the heart and soul of American musical theater. Richard Rodgers, responsible for the music and the heart, and Oscar Hammerstein, providing lyrics and soul, teamed up to build many monuments to our culture via the stage. Their collaboration on “South Pacific” opened on Broadway in 1949 starring Mary Martin, Ezio Pinza and Myron McCormick and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The Spokane Symphony will perform selections from “South Pacific,” including “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali Ha’i” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”
Music from the Oscar-winning score to Disney’s animated feature “The Lion King” will be performed as a treat to children and adults alike. “Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” ought to be familiar to anyone from this planet.
No outdoor symphony concert would be complete without an artillery-enhanced reading of Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture or John Philip Sousa’s 98-year-old march/anthem, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” so Mechetti and the orchestra will comply.
Before the symphony performance, the Spokane Arts Commission will have booths on the west side of the park with various local arts organizations presenting their 1995/96 season previews. Information and entertainment will be available from 3 to 6.
Parking for 12,000 or more in the neighborhood off 29th is difficult, at best. Carpooling and the compassion to avoid blocking driveways and streets, obstructing fireplugs and visibility, and patience will help everyone enjoy the event more.
For more information on the concert or disability/mobility-impaired access, call the Spokane Symphony ticket office at 624-1200 before 5 p.m. today. This concert will be repeated on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. at Terrace View Park in the Valley.