The Portsmouth Wind Symphony (PWS) is a 50-member, all-volunteer music collective that provides musical opportunities for regional musicians, while offering affordable music experiences to the community.
The group is ready to continue its 30th season after a moving Christmas show, now planning to entertain people with movie classics as they highlight “A Night at the Movies.”
“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 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 most recent production, “Dickens of a Christmas,” was held in December. PWS described the experience as festive, as they performed 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.
They continue their season with “A Night at the Movies” on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
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 Star Wars Saga, Williams; Canon in D, Pachabel/Brown; Beauty and the Beast, Menken; Carmen Suite, Bizet; Harry Potter Suite, Williams; James Bond Suite, Bulla.
“I’m always excited when we program a movie soundtrack show,” Williams said. “The music is fun and exhilarating. Our members love playing these pieces and it’s always a crowd favorite. This is our final concert of our 30th season at the Vern Riffe Center, so that’s another reason we’re all pumped for this show. I want to invite everyone who loves great music and also loves movies to join us on Saturday, April 8. I think it’s going to be a fantastic event and one you won’t want to miss.”
Following “A Night at the Movies,” the PWS closes its 30th season at the Vern Riffe Center with their “Great Sousa Concert” on July 4, 7 p. in Tracy Park. 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.
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, including “A Night at the Movies,” 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 www.portsmouthwindsymphony.com
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved