November symphony concert a celebration of music, dance, theater

Bryan Symphony Orchestra's production of Peter and the Wolf set for Nov. 14

thumb_BSO-StageOne-TTUBSO Music Director Dan Allcott (center) and Backdoor Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Creter (far right) with the members of Stage One Dance Company who will help tell the story of Peter and the Wolf. Two masterworks by two iconic composers bring Cookeville audiences a different sort of orchestral experience during the next performance of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University.

Beginning with the child-like sophistication of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and ending with the joyous exuberance of Beethoven's 7th Symphony, the production is also a collaboration among Cookeville performing artists in dance, music and theater.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, in the Bryan Fine Arts Building on the TTU campus.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $26 for seniors 65 and up, and $8 for students. Call 931-525-2633 for reservations. The Nov. 14 concert is sponsored by Albert and Rosemary Ponte of Cookeville and a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, which also supports the BSO's annual education concerts for area 4th-grade students on Monday morning, Nov. 15.

Music Director Dan Allcott has wanted to program Peter and the Wolf, the quintessential composition for newcomers to orchestral music, for many years – in part because of his involvement in live music and dance over the past 10 seasons with the Atlanta Ballet. The composition is meant to introduce audiences to the instruments of the orchestra, but it stands on its own, too, as a singular piece of music.

"Prokofiev was inspired to make music for the masses, and he couldn't write badly; his film music is great, his concertos are great – everything he did was great," says Allcott. "Peter and the Wolf is such an awesome piece of music. It's not dumbed down; he didn't discard his sense of irony and humor just because he was writing for children. The story itself calls to the better parts of us, to what we were like as children. It's a great opportunity for our audience members, many of whom heard the Prokofiev concerto last season, to hear his greatness in one more way."

Appearing as guest artists for the performance are two other segments of the Cookeville performing arts community: members of the Stage One Dance Company and TTU Backdoor Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Creter. Ten dancers ranging in age from 13 to 25, with choreography by Jennifer Dotson-Creter, will be on stage, as will her husband, actor-director Mark Creter, who first narrated a BSO performance in 2005 for a production of music written by Felix Mendelssohn for Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Peter and the Wolf tells the timeless story of a man's love for his grandchild and his desire to protect the youngster from danger. The second half of the Nov. 14 concert features another timeless composition and audience favorite, Beethoven's 7th Symphony. An especially rhythmic piece, the 7th is a study in contrasts – from slow and poignant to sweeping and unrestrained. It was written 10 years after Beethoven began to lose his hearing; the career of the legendary composer, who managed to overcome a seemingly insurmountable physical affliction, is one of history's greatest ironies. The 7th Symphony is considered one of Beethoven's sunniest, most joyous, works.

The Nov. 14 performance is followed the next morning by the BSO's annual education concerts for Putnam County schoolchildren. Other concert-related activities in November include:

• Broadcasts of "BSO Backstage," an original WCTE-TV production hosted by Becky Magura with guests Allcott and Gail Luna, executive director of the BSO, air on Ch. 22 (Cookeville cable channel 10). November's episode begins at 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, and continues at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6; 10:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7; 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11; and 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 13.

• A concert preview luncheon in Crossville set for 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Palace Theater on Main Street. Cost is $10 and payable at the door. Call 931-484-6133 for reservations by Monday, Nov. 8.

• The 4th anniversary celebration of Spicer & Company jewelers, 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12, at the Delia Ateliers, home of Aura Salon and Spa and several fine arts organizations, including Spicer & Company jewelers, West Textures Framing and Fine Art, and the Bryan Symphony Orchestra Association. Reservations are required. Call 931-525-2633 to learn more.

• And several events on concert day, Sunday, Nov. 14, including a preview lecture by TTU music faculty member Catherine Godes beginning at 2 p.m., in Room 223 of the Bryan Fine Arts Building. The concert itself begins at 3 p.m. A post-performance reception takes place in the lobby, followed by dinner at Mauricio's Italian Restaurant near the TTU campus, 232 N. Peachtree Ave. Call 931-525-2633 for dinner reservations by Friday, Nov. 12.

The Bryan Symphony Orchestra, the only professional symphony in a rural area of Tennessee, is a member of the Made in America consortium being honored this year by the League of American Orchestras with its 2010 Gold Baton Award. The award recognizes the role the consortium of 89 orchestras played in commissioning classical music, beginning with Joan Tower's "Made in America," which the Bryan Symphony premiered in Cookeville in 2006. Learn more about the Bryan Symphony by visiting its web site at www.bryansymphony.org.