Symphony plays outdoors for ArcBest anniversary

Symphony plays outdoors for ArcBest anniversary

“The idea of outdoor concerts goes as far back as music began,” says John Jeter, music director of the Fort Smith Symphony. “I think people love being outdoors, out in nature, hearing beautiful music. It’s a relaxed setting with a lot of visual interaction as well.

“The idea for this concert came from talking with ArcBest President and CEO Judy McReynolds,” Jeter says of an outdoor performance Oct. 7. “We were talking about how both ArcBest and the Fort Smith Symphony were celebrating 100th anniversaries at the same time, so it took about two seconds to come up with the idea of an outdoor concert at ArcBest’s beautiful McClure headquarters.

“It’s an awesome modern building that has a built-in courtyard area of sorts, which is a great space for an outdoor concert, with the building providing a dramatic visual as well as acoustic backdrop.”

Not only will the performance include “Raiders March” and “The Flight to Neverland” from the movie “Hook,” both by John Williams, Jeter says there will be two opera arias by Puccini performed by Amanda Lenora Green-Turner; Coldplay’s “Clocks” featuring the Symphony’s electric string quartet, Jolt; the Symphony’s Kool Cats Jazz Quartet; and music from “Star Trek: Into Darkness” “as a teaser for our performance of the entire film and concert later in the year,” Jeter says. “[Plus] music from ‘Jurassic Park,’ a little Mozart and more.”

Audiences will also get a chance to hear another original composition by Patrick Conlon, whose “Time Flies” celebrated the symphony’s birthday at its season opener. Conlon is currently assistant director of the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma and teaches courses in film scoring, studio recording and composition, in addition to being principal second violin with the Fort Smith orchestra.

“The audience response to ‘Time Flies’ was fantastic,” Jeter enthuses. “The piece is really terrific, and both the audience and orchestra loved it. As a matter of fact, I heard audience members tell Patrick after the concert that it was their favorite part of the program, which is not only wonderful to hear but pretty impressive considering music by Gershwin, Rachmaninoff and Ravel were on the program!”

“Writing an orchestra piece is a really difficult, long journey, but there really isn’t anything like hearing 100 of the best musicians on the planet just play the pants off of one of your pieces,” Conlon said of “Time Flies.” “It’s an incredible honor, and honestly it’s a little addicting.”

Titled “ArcBest Fanfare,” Conlon’s latest composition celebrates the Fort Smith trucking company. Founded in 1923 as a local freight hauler, it is now a multibillion-dollar integrated logistics company. It is “a short work, very celebratory in nature, that is written to be performed outdoors,” Jeter says, adding that the free performance is “a great way to bring the whole family” before “a busy Fort Smith Symphony month” in October.

“After Oct. 7, our next subscription concert on Oct. 14 is called ‘Country Hits: Songs from Nashville,’” he says. “We have a great band assembling from all over the country with two terrific vocalists performing some of the greatest country songs ever. It’s going to be loads of fun, and we are all really looking forward to it.”


Fort Smith Symphony:

Community Concert

WHEN — 5 p.m. Oct. 7

WHERE — ArcBest Headquarters at 8401 McClure Drive in Fort Smith

COST — Free; refreshments will be available for purchase


BONUS — Come around 3 p.m. to hear Fort Smith’s Northside and Southside Orchestras perform as well as A-String Fort Smith.

Categories: Family Friendly