Rain or shine, it's Symphony Sunday time
Find a schedule for Symphony Sunday at the end of this story.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Symphony League president Erin Brewster said that each year the league doesn't really try to outdo the previous year's Symphony Sunday.
Brewster laughed and said, "It's not so much a competition. It's the league's gift to Charleston. We try to make a little money if we can, but that's not the primary purpose of Symphony Sunday either.
"The real purpose is to get people out to listen to the symphony."
Brewster hopes lots of people come out for the 31st Symphony Sunday this weekend, which takes place, as usual, on the lawn of the University of Charleston -- as long as the weather holds.
"Rain is always problematic," she said. "A couple of times we've had to move the concert inside, which is fine, but not as much fun as sitting on the lawn and maybe having a nice glass of wine while you watch the symphony."
Brewster can't help but be a little excited about this year's theme, "Roll Over Beethoven: The Symphony Rocks!" As Symphony League president, she picked it. Call it a perk of the job.
"We wanted something that would involve everyone and be fun for the symphony," she said. "We thought it would be fun, and the symphony always tries to pick some songs that relate to the theme."
Along with the solid, perhaps more traditional classical fare like "The American Frontier" and Tchaikovsky's "Overture 1812," selections this Sunday include a Jesus Christ Superstar medley, a Beatles medley and a "Fifth of Beethoven."
"And then we have fireworks," Brewster said.
The symphony itself performs at 8 p.m., but Brewster said Symphony Sunday is really a full day of events with music all afternoon starting at around 3 p.m.
Originally from Virginia, Brewster has been with the West Virginia Symphony League for about eight years.
"I remember vividly how I got involved," she said. "I've always been a classical music lover. I studied piano when I was a kid, and when I first came to Charleston, Kelly George asked me if I wanted to be involved with the symphony league. I got a little involved and then a little more."
And it snowballed until she became president this past year.
Brewster said the purpose of the league, basically, is to support the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the year, the group holds various fundraisers to help with that support and their classical music outreach programs.
"It's just a great group of women to work with that feel strongly about the symphony orchestra and feel that it should stay in Charleston and in West Virginia."
Brewster said that the area having a quality symphony orchestra is kind of a gift unto itself.
"We are a fairly small community to have a symphony, and we feel it's such a great opportunity for us to have them," she said.
Lots of places, Brewster said, seldom get the chance to hear live symphonic music.
Thanks to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony League, more people get that chance through the WVSO's regular season, but also through special events held with the city, and of course, Symphony Sunday.
"Symphony Sunday is just a great event," she said. "We have the orchestra play for free for everyone, for anyone who wants to come."
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.
WANT TO GO?
Symphony Sunday "Roll Over Beethoven: The Symphony Rocks!"
WHERE: University of Charleston riverbank lawn
INFO: 304-561-3500 or www.wvsymphony.org
Symphony Sunday main stage schedule
2:55-3:30 p.m.: Kanawha Valley Community Band
3:40-4:10 p.m.: Tri State Brass Band
4:20-4:50 p.m.: Charleston Metro Band
5-5:30 p.m.: West Virginia Youth Symphony Cadet String Ensemble and Youth String Ensemble
5:40-6:10 p.m.: Mountain State Brass Band
6:20-6:50 p.m.: West Virginia Youth Symphony Orchestra
8 p.m.: West Virginia Symphony Orchestra followed by fireworks