PWS warms up for a big season

The Portsmouth Wind Symphony, a 50-member, all-volunteer music collective, is ready to continue their season after a powerful Fourth of July concert in Tracy Park, with three big titles to entertain music fans further.

“The PWS is important to the community, because it meets the needs of both the local arts supporters and our musicians. We provide high quality live symphonic music that is not available from any other live band or musical ensemble in our area. Folks would have to drive at least as far as Huntington for a similar experience—And, to have it available right here at the beautiful VRCFA, is a huge advantage,” PWS President and Treasurer Trent Williams said. “It is also a tremendous benefit for those in our community and the tri-state area in giving those musicians who want to keep playing a chance to do what they love. Our playing members really look forward to coming to rehearsals every Monday and participating in our performances for the community. It’s a win-win situation for our members and for those who enjoy our events.”

Their next showcase is set for October 13, 7 p.m., and is called “Castles, Cathedrals, and the Crown.” PWS describes the experience as a “Journey through the landscapes of England, France and Germany, as well as a celebration of the the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth and medieval music of Europe.”

The music will consist of Music for the Royal Fireworks, Handel/Rodenmacher; Funeral March for Queen Mary, Purcell; Pastime with Good Company, Henry VIII; King Across the Water, Fraser; Royal Coronation Dances, Margolis; Crown Imperial, Walton; and Autumn, Nishimura.

They follow with the Christmas title, “Dickens of a Christmas,” on December 10, 7:30 p.m. PWS describes the experience, inviting the community to “Join the Portsmouth Wind Symphony and their guests, the Portsmouth West High School Choir, and SSU Dance Academy for an evening of Holiday Music and Dance.”

The music will consist of Candelight Procession, Gorb; Nutcracker Suite, Tchaikovsky; A Charles Dickens Christmas, Ryden; Greensleeves, Reed; Sussex Mummers Carol, Grainger; Charlie Brown Christmas, Guarldi; Sleigh Ride, Anderson; and A Christmas Festival, Anderson.

The music continues with “A Night at the Movies” on April 8, 7 p.m. The PWS describes the concert as “Great soundtracks make movies unforgettable. Live some of cinema’s greatest moments from live-action and animated films like James Bond, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Beauty and the Beast.”

The music will consist of Barber of Seville, Rossini; Star Wars Saga, Williams; Canon in D, Pachabel/Brown; Beauty and the Beast, Menken; Moment for Morricone, DeMeij; Carmen Suite, Bizet; Harry Potter Suite, Williams; James Bond Suite, Bulla.

They close their Season at the Vern Riffe Center with their “Great Sousa Concert” on July 4, 7 p.m. The PWS invites the community to “Experience a July 4th through the legacy of America’s March King, John Phillip Sousa. The PWS celebrates America with a recreation of a Sousa Concert from the 1800’s with a Portsmouth Twist.”

The music will consist of Light Calvary Overture, Von Suppe/Filmore; Wisconsin Forward Forever, Sousa; Washington Post, Sousa; Magnificent Seven, Bernstein; The Diplomat, Sousa; Last Days of Pomeii, Sousa; The Carnival of Venice, Trad.; Quilting Party, Sousa; Pirates of Penzance, Sullivan.

“We’re excited about our 30th anniversary season and we’re making big plans for our promotions to celebrate it with the community. We have an exciting concert lineup beginning with our October 13th show, “Castles, Cathredrals, and the Crown”. And as it’s turned out, it will be both a tribute to the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II as well as a celebration of the coronation of a new British monarch that will be reflected in our musical repertoire,” Williams said. “Our annual Christmas concert is always a big event. I’m probably most excited about our Spring concert on April 8th, “A Night at the Movies.” Cinematic scores, especially John Williams compositions, are always fun to play and are usually big crowd pleasers. Our Grand Sousa concert on July 4th in Tracy Park is always well attended. I mean who doesn’t love a Sousa march, mixed in with some Bernstein and others? Should be a fantastic season you won’t want to miss.”

The music is directed by Maestro John Christian.

Christian is the artistic director and conductor for the PWS. As a 25-year veteran, he has taught at K-12 schools and colleges on four continents. Born and raised in a rural farm town in Wisconsin, community music has always been a part of his life and is excited to collaborate with musicians in the region. He currently serves as the Director of University Bands at the University of Charleston in Charleston, WV.

While their Fourth of July concert is free and open to the public, other shows are at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. General admission is $10, student admission is $5, children 12 and under are free. For more information about the Portsmouth Wind Symphony, check out

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved