But that's exactly what happens in Cookeville on Labor Day Sundays – the annual pops concert by the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University. And just to sweeten the deal, it's free.
This year's performance, set for Sunday, Sept. 2, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Park Performance Pavilion in downtown Cookeville. For those who didn't get enough of London during the summer Olympic games, BSO Music Director Dan Allcott has added a lively mix of English chart-toppers to the program of patriotic music, show tunes, and sneak previews of the most-anticipated music of the new season, from Beethoven to Gershwin.
"Between the environment and the time of year, this is the perfect setting for an outdoor concert," says Allcott, who begins his 10th season as music director of the BSO this year. "It's a great opportunity for this artistic gem to be heard by a bigger audience, and part of the thrill for us in playing Dogwood Park is that more people get to see and hear what we can do."
Come early for the official kick-off of the BSO's 50th season – the opening of its anniversary exhibition at the Cookeville History Museum, located at the entrance to Dogwood Park. The opening reception takes place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Next up: pre-concert activities in the park which begin at 6:30 p.m., led by symphony volunteer Diane Glasgow. Among the music-related craft projects for children are rubber stamping, a composer map toss, and making hand puppets of conductors with glow-in-the-dark batons.
Diane and her husband, Sam Glasgow, sponsor the BSO's annual outdoor concerts, because of their love for outdoor symphony concerts at legendary venues like Tanglewood and Wolf Trap. Because of the Glasgows' generosity, there's no admission charge to the BSO's outdoor concert, making the event more accessible for large families and groups of friends. Additional funding is provided by a grant from the Cookeville Arts Council.
Dogwood Park offers ample stone amphitheater seating, and the grounds at center stage are perfect for bringing a picnic blanket or folding chair. The new concession stand will be open from 6 to 9 p.m.
Free parking is available throughout the downtown district. In case of rain, the concert will be held at the BSO's resident concert hall at TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building.
Tickets for the BSO's subscription concert season are available now. Call the ticket line at 931-525-2633. The only professional symphony outside a metropolitan area in Tennessee, the BSO gives its subscription and education performances in Wattenbarger Auditorium, the concert hall of TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building, located at 1150 N. Dixie Ave., in Cookeville. Learn more at www.bryansymphony.org.