July 29, 2016
Local orchestra stepping out, up this summer
Photos/Peggy Eastery, Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
The Piedmont Symphony Orchestra performs its “The Beatles and Friends” concert last Saturday at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.
The audience enjoys last Saturday’s rock concert at Orkney Springs.
PSO Director Glenn Quader plays the bass guitar at last Saturday’s concert.
To us, it is a really big deal. For us it means that we are now an 11-month orchestra.
— PSO President Cooper Wright
The Piedmont Symphony Orchestra hits the big stage with two summer concerts this weekend.
PSO this year became the resident orchestra at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival that hosts weekend concerts through Sept. 4.
The Warrenton-based orchestra will perform at the Orkney Springs concert venue in southwestern Shenandoah County, near Bryce Resort, this Saturday.
“To us, it is a really big deal,” PSO President Cooper Wright said. “For us it means that we are now an 11-month orchestra.”
Directed by Glenn Quader, the orchestra stages about five concerts a year at Highland School’s performing arts center in Warrenton.
The musicians have practiced six weeks to prepare for the summer concerts, which started last weekend at Orkney Springs.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 29, the PSO will give a free “Symphonic Blockbusters” concert at the National Sporting Library Museum in Middleburg.
The group’s concert at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 30.
The 65-member orchestra will perform the “1812 Overture,” the “Overture from Romeo and Juliet” and other symphonic works during the “Tchek Out With Tchaikovsky” concert.
Last Saturday, the PSO performed with Elizabeth Lawrence and others for “The Beatles and Friends” concert at Orkney Springs.
“We are really excited about this opportunity,” Mr. Wright said. “It really opens us up to an entire different audience.”
The Shenandoah Music Festival began in 1963, focusing on symphonic music and has since expanded to host Grammy, Tony and Emmy award-winning musicians in an intimate setting.
Concerts take place on the grounds of the Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center, an Episcopal Diocese retreat off Interstate 81.
The music festival has only had one other resident orchestra, The Fairfax Symphony for 36 years.
“I heard a CD (the PSO) had made a few years ago and said these guys are great,” music festival President Dennis Lynch said. “I have since heard them live in Warrenton and they are terrific, great orchestra.”
Mr. Lynch said he chose the PSO primarily because of their conductor, Glenn Quader.
“I knew Glenn and I was familiar with his work at The Fairfax Symphony,” he said. “Glenn’s got a lot of energy. An orchestra is usually a lot like their conductor.”
The orchestra has a contract with the Shenandoah Music Festival this summer.
“We always want to make sure symphonic music is part of what we do,” Mr. Lynch said. “We are hopeful we will be able to build on this relationship this year and make it an ongoing thing.”
The PSO began in 1996 as the Piedmont Regional Orchestra by Founding Conductor Michael Hughes. Volunteers make up the majority of the orchestra, but some receive compensation.
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