Entertainment

Splendor On The Grass Trumpeter, Chorale, Mechetti Will Strike Popular Chord In Comstock Park Concert

Labor Day picnics not only bring out politicians, hot dogs and Aunt Mabel’s potato salad. In Spokane, at least, the holiday features the Spokane Symphony playing at Comstock Park.

Monday, the symphony, under the baton of its music director Fabio Mechetti, will perform light classics and music from films such as “Jurassic Park” and from George M. Cohan’s Broadway musical successes. The Spokane Symphony principal trumpet, Larry Jess, will be the featured soloist in Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.”

And, as is the tradition at these parks concerts, the evening will have a bang-up ending with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

This year for the first time, the symphony will be joined by the Spokane Symphony Chorale singing patriotic favorites such as “America the Beautiful” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

A tradition of these Labor Day concerts has been the appearance of the president of the symphony’s board of trustees conducting the orchestra. Bridget Piper, current board president, will conduct Sousa’s “Washington Post” March.

The idea of symphony Labor Day concerts started in 1985 when Bruce Ferden, then the new music director for the Spokane Symphony, was taken on a tour of the city’s parks and subsequently proposed park’s concerts for the orchestra. After all, the New York Philharmonic (of which Ferden had been an assistant conductor) plays in Central Park, the Chicago Symphony performs at Ravinia and the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays in Hollywood Bowl.

In 1986, the Labor Day concerts began at Comstock and Ferden’s successors, Vahktang Jordania and Fabio Mechetti, have maintained the Ferden formula that has attracted as many as 15,000 spectators to the event. Picnickers at the event annually vie for the Alfresco Awards given for the most attractively (some years, the most extravagantly) decorated picnic tables or displays. Prizes include gift certificates at various Spokane restaurants and other merchants.

For those who decide that making and packing a dinner is far too much trouble, Lindaman’s will offer gourmet picnic fare starting at 4 p.m. Soft drinks, coffee and tea will also be available.

From 3 to 7 p.m. the Spokane Arts Commission will sponsor “Spokane Arts: A Season Preview.”

Spokane arts organizations will have booths near the concert seating area where audience members can get information and buy season tickets to 1997-98 musical, theatrical and visual arts events.

In case of rain, the concert will be rescheduled for Tuesday at the same time.

Much of Monday’s program will be repeated at the symphony’s Valley Park Concert at Terrace View Park on Sept. 20 at 4 p.m.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. Spokane Symphony Labor Day Concert Location: Comstock Park Date: Monday Time: 6 p.m. Tickets: It’s free

2. Comstock concert tips Location. Comstock Park is located between Post and Howard streets south of 29th. The concert stage is on the west side of the park. Starting time. The music starts at 6 p.m. Since crowds in past years have exceeded 10,000, the best spots on the lawn in front of the stage start filling up as early as 4 p.m. Parking. Parking is at a premium; there is no parking lot to speak of at Comstock. So plan to park on the street and walk several blocks. Note carefully where you park, the streets around Comstock twist and wind, and they all look alike after dark. It’s a good idea to bring a flashlight since the concert will end right at dark. Seating. Bring your own lawn chair unless you arrive early and stake out a blanket space near the front. What to wear. Check the weather forecast. September evenings can be cool, so bring a sweater and an extra blanket just in case. The truly cautious are known to bring umbrellas, too. Money. Bring some, even if you also bring a full picnic basket. Picnic dinners plus soft drinks, coffee and tea will be available as will Symphony T-shirts and concert posters. Arts organizations will have booths offering season tickets and memberships, too. Drinks. Water is hard to find in Comstock, so bring your own. And, for the record, a city ordinance forbids alcoholic beverages in city parks. Toilets. Before those beverages take effect, note the location of portable toilets around the edge of the seating area. Courtesy. Enjoy the music and allow others to do the same. The only thing worse than loud, run-amok children at a musical event are loud, run-amok adults. Escape. Plan your departure route in advance. Getting away is bound to be slow, so have a soothing cassette tape or two to play on your car stereo. - Travis Rivers

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. Spokane Symphony Labor Day Concert Location: Comstock Park Date: Monday Time: 6 p.m. Tickets: It’s free

2. Comstock concert tips Location. Comstock Park is located between Post and Howard streets south of 29th. The concert stage is on the west side of the park. Starting time. The music starts at 6 p.m. Since crowds in past years have exceeded 10,000, the best spots on the lawn in front of the stage start filling up as early as 4 p.m. Parking. Parking is at a premium; there is no parking lot to speak of at Comstock. So plan to park on the street and walk several blocks. Note carefully where you park, the streets around Comstock twist and wind, and they all look alike after dark. It’s a good idea to bring a flashlight since the concert will end right at dark. Seating. Bring your own lawn chair unless you arrive early and stake out a blanket space near the front. What to wear. Check the weather forecast. September evenings can be cool, so bring a sweater and an extra blanket just in case. The truly cautious are known to bring umbrellas, too. Money. Bring some, even if you also bring a full picnic basket. Picnic dinners plus soft drinks, coffee and tea will be available as will Symphony T-shirts and concert posters. Arts organizations will have booths offering season tickets and memberships, too. Drinks. Water is hard to find in Comstock, so bring your own. And, for the record, a city ordinance forbids alcoholic beverages in city parks. Toilets. Before those beverages take effect, note the location of portable toilets around the edge of the seating area. Courtesy. Enjoy the music and allow others to do the same. The only thing worse than loud, run-amok children at a musical event are loud, run-amok adults. Escape. Plan your departure route in advance. Getting away is bound to be slow, so have a soothing cassette tape or two to play on your car stereo. - Travis Rivers



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