Robert “Bob” McCoy will be one of the guest conductors at Monday’s concert of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. He was a band director in Scioto County for 30 years, at East High School, Portsmouth High School and Wheelersburg High School.
“We have a growing band; every week it’s different,” McCoy said. “But I think we have a decent organization and I think the concert is going to be put together pretty well.”
McCoy is a trombone player with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra throughout their regular season. He is also an Army veteran and played trombone with the Army bands. McCoy will be conducting for half of the program, and will be playing the trombone during the other half of the performance, while Gale Dalton, who was once McCoy’s student, will take up the baton as the other guest conductor that day.
“I am Bob’s (McCoy) student,” Dalton said. “When he taught at Portsmouth High School, from ‘62 to ‘67 before he went to Wheelersburg, I played trombone in his band. So we’ve got two generations.”
Dalton also plays trombone with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra and will be playing during the half of the concert when McCoy is conducting. He, too, played trombone in the military, and is a retired band director. Dalton taught band in Scioto and Adams counties.
“We’ve got lots of patriotic pieces,” Dalton said of the upcoming July 4 concert. “We’ve got some medleys, ‘Armed Forces Salute’ where people are encouraged to stand up when they hear their military song if they served. We have some other kind of jazz, rock, laid back pieces. John Philip Sousa, Henry Fillmore, music that people recognize. And of course, at the end of the program, ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ which people just love to hear.”
When the orchestra plays ‘America the Beautiful,’ Steve Hayes will give a recitative reading. And Steve Free and his group are also scheduled to perform at the concert, before the orchestra plays and during intermission.
This will be the only concert for the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra for the summer.
“We will get back to orchestra repertoire beginning on Aug. 22,” said Carl Daehler, musical director of the orchestra. “We’ll have a concert in October, and then in December, in February and then in April.”
Tickets for those concerts will be available through the McKinley Box Office at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on Shawnee State University’s campus, or through TicketMaster.
“We will be auditioning everyone this year because with the orchestra we want to have a balanced string section,” Daehler said. “We will have a few pieces at each concert where we use the entire orchestra, and then about half the concert will be a smaller orchestra that will be a better balance with the strings. And then the July concert is all band, and the more the merrier then.”
The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra practices at 7 p.m. every Monday except during the summer. Anyone interested in becoming involved with the orchestra may contact Daeler at (740) 351-3622 at Shawnee State University.