GSO taking music to the people
Skip to Main Content

GSO taking music to the people

Oct 18, 2012

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:30 am | Updated: 10:19 am, Thu Oct 18, 2012.

BATAVIA -- The Genesee Symphony Orchestra is going on the road this season.

The orchestra, which has been artists-in-residence at Genesee Community College for eight seasons, will perform at three different locations for its 66th season.

The tour is a result of increasing attendance for its concerts, which are beginning to outgrow 325-seat Stuart Steiner Theatre in the Genesee Center for the Arts at GCC, and the success of a concert last season at Elba High School.

"Elba was a huge success," GSO Conductor Raffaele Ponti said. "It had a good sized audience and attracted new and diverse people to become part of our audience."

The new season opens Sunday with a concert at Pavilion Central School and will conclude in April 2013 with a concert at Attica High School. The season's two other concerts are scheduled for St. James Episcopal Church, Batavia.

"It's kind of like bringing the symphony to the people," Ponti said. "When we've done it in the past it's been successful."

The GSO will continue to call GCC home, and will use the Center for the Arts for a new chamber music series that kicks off in November.

GSO has in the past performed concerts outside of Batavia, but not in several years. This new tour will help the orchestra extends its reach within the community.

"We are hoping to expose residents of these communities to a fulfilling musical experience that is produced by their own neighbors, friends and teachers," said Kenneth R. Pike, president of the GSO Board of Directors. "Frew realize that the music teachers from many of the area schools are active members of the GSO."

Other changes are also in store for the GSO, which in September named acclaimed violinist John Irrera, a Batavia native, as concertmaster. Irrera and his brother Joseph Irrera will extend the GSO brand through a chamber music series scheduled to begin in Nov. 4 at Genesee Community College. The Irrera Brothers Chamber Music Series will bring musicians to the area for performances in months that the GSO does not have a scheduled performance. Additional concerts are being planned for Jan. 27, 2013, March 17 and May 19.

Musically, the season - with its theme "GSO on the Road: Getting' Our Kicks @ 66!" -- will feature a mix of the familiar and lesser known works, serious and lighter fare. The season will feature four works each by Leroy Anderson and John Philip Sousa.

"This year I'm trying to do a real mixed bag with each concert," Ponti said.

While larger orchestra may have entire concert series dedicated to classical and pops music, or have the luxury of programming entire concerts with comedic pieces and film scores, the GSO has just the four performances. So, Ponti said, he plans to offer something for everyone at each concert.

Take Sunday's opener: there's Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and a violincello concerto from Edouard Lalo -- "the real serious names, meat and potatoes," Ponti said -- lighter fare such as Gershwin's "Summertime" or Anderson's "Jazz Pizzicato" and popular movie music from John Williams.

"I have to give people some real stuff so they can experience classical music and grow their knowledge of the music," Ponti said. "But we can also show another side of the orchestra."

Later this season, look for the comedic "Fanfare for the Common Cold."

The season will also highlight local talent. Annie Jacobs-Perkins, winner of the GSO's annual Concerto Competition, will be featured Sunday. The holiday concert will feature GSO trumpeters Edward VanZandt and Kevin McLaud, while the Batavia High School Band will join the GSO in February. The season ends with a concert that includes participants from the GSO's annual string workshop.

VanZandt and McLaud are long-time members of the GSO, and also music educators in local districts. The Genesee Chorale, which will join the GSO for its holiday concert, has long partnered with the orchestra and share similar audiences.

The local performers, Ponti said, "make concerts relevant to the community and engaging to the audience."

Season at a glance: Genesee Symphony Orchestra

Here's a capsule look at the Genesee Symphony Orchestra's 66th season, which begins Sunday. All concerts begin at 4 p.m.


  • At Pavilion Central School, 7014 Big Tree Rd., Pavilion

  • "Around the World with Music," features GSO Concerto Competition winner Annie Jacobs-Perkins on cello. The program includes Bizet's Suite No. 1 from "Carmen," Edouard Lalo's Violincello Concerto, with Jacobs-Perkins. After intermission, the orchestra will feature Leroy Anderson's Jazz Pizzicato, George Gershwin's "Summertime," selections from "Sound of Music" by Richard Rodgers, Gaetano Braga's "Santa Lucia," selections from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," and two film scores from John Williams: the main theme from "Star Wars" and the theme from "Lost World."

Dec. 2

  • At St. James Episcopal Church, 405 East Main St., Batavia

  • The traditional "Home for the Holidays" will once more see the GSO collaborate with the Genesee Chorale, directed by Ric Jones; and guest trumpeters Edward VanZandt and Kevin McLaud. The program features popular Leroy Anderson pieces, "A Christmas Festival" and "Sleigh Ride," the latter featuring a winner of a GSO auction; the comedic "Fanfare for the Common Cold" from P.D.Q. Bach; more traditional Bach pieces "Sheep May Safely Graze" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"; Haydn's "Toy Symphony," with seven toy players; and Vivaldi's Concerto No. 2 with VanZandt and McLaud. The Orchestra and Chorale selections have not yet been announced. The concert will conclude with its traditional Christmas sing-a-long.

Feb. 24

  • At St. James Episcopal Church.

  • "It's a Grand Old Flag" will feature the Batavia High School Band, directed by Jane Haggett. The program includes George M. Cohen's "You're a Grand Old Flag," Morton Gould's "American Ballads," the Prelude of Wagner's opera "Die Meistersinger" ("The Mastersingers"), "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and Sousa's "High School Cadets March" and "Stars and Stripes Forever." The GSO winds, brass and percussion sections will also join with the Batavia High band on a selection to be announced.

April 14

  • At Attica High School, 3338 East Main Street Rd., Attica.

  • The season ends with "Spring Cleaning," a concert featuring participants from the GSO's annual String Orchestra. The program opens with the Overture to "Leichte Kavallerie" ("Light Cavalry") by Franz von Suppe, Malcolm Arnold's "A Grand, Grand Overture," Klaus Badelt's "Pirates of the Caribbean," Beethoven's "Turkish March," Strauss' "Perpetuum Mobile; Musikalischer Scherz" ("Musical Joke"), Sousa's "Hands Across the Sea" and "The Liberty Bell March," Leroy Andersons "Plink Plank Plunk," which will highlight the GSO's string players and guests; and Schickele's "Unbegun Symphony."

Getting Tickets

Individual concert tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students age 18 and younger. Season tickets are $45 for adults, $30 for seniors and $20 for students.

The GSO also offers Flex 4 passes, which cost the same as season tickets, but they may be used in any combination at any concert. For example, you can use all four tickets at one concert or split the tickets among multiple concerts.

Tickets are available in Batavia at Roxy's Music Store 228 West Main St., 343-7222, and the GO ART! Cultural Center, 201 East Main St.. 343-9313; Enchanted Florist, the Genesee Center for the Arts box office, and at Bank of Castile, 29 Main St., Le Roy, and Water Street Printing, 102 South Main St., Oakfield. Season tickets and "Flex 4 Passes" also available. Online at . 

Get your FREE Genesee County

Vacation Planner

Stay Connected

Sign up for our FREE email Newsletter