DAYTON, OH (May 10, 2019) – The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will take the stage again this year to present a Memorial Day Weekend Concert on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. as the featured performance of the Dayton Heritage Day at Carillon Historical Park, the Park’s exciting day of music and family events. Guest vocalist Alexander J. Harper joins the Dayton Philharmonic for this special performance. The DPO proudly performs a concert of music brimming with Americana flair, including a tribute to famed composer Leonard Bernstein, for this Dayton Heritage Day celebration.
Held on Memorial Day weekend, Heritage Day at Carillon Historical Park celebrates Dayton’s unparalleled history through special activities, costumed interpreters, and more. Draped in patriotic decorations, the Park welcomes thousands of guests each year to this family-friendly event! After a full day of historical demonstrations, miniature train rides, and general merriment, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra fills the air with beautiful music. Heritage Day is a festive and patriotic way to ring in summer.
Carillon Park will open at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 26, and admission to Dayton Heritage Day is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $7 for children aged 3–17, and FREE for Dayton History members and children under 3. Admission is $7 for all active military, military retirees, veterans, and reservists with valid I.D. Parking is free. No carried-in food or beverages are permitted. In the event of cancellation due to weather, the rain date for Dayton Heritage Day and the DPO performance will be Monday, May 27.
The Ohio Valley Civil War Association will present the colors as the concert opens with the traditional Star-Spangled Banner. The program continues with the bold “Fanfare for Freedom” by Robert Wendel. Maestro Gittleman then takes the audience on a short journey through the works of the late great American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. First, the DPO takes a visit to Bernstein’s most famous musical smash hit with the “West Side Story Medley,” arranged by John Mason, followed by “Simple Song” from the impactful theatrical composition MASS and then “Lucky to Be Me” from the energetic wartime musical On the Town. Former Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence Alexander J. Harper joins to perform these last two Bernstein gems.
The DPO then honors the late American composer George Theophilus Walker by performing his 1946 work “Lyric for Strings.” In 1996, George Walker became the first African-American composer to receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Music for his beautiful work Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra. Walker passed away just last year on August 23, 2018.
To conclude the first half of the program, the DPO is proud to present “Gardens of Stone,” a patriotic work commissioned by the United States Air Force Band of Flight and written by contemporary American composer James Beckel, Jr. This eleven-minute narrated composition pays tribute to the military men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country. It includes powerful words from President Reagan, General Eisenhower, and President Lincoln. The DPO invites very special guest narrator Representative Mike Turner to deliver these poignant words from past leaders of our great country.
After a brief intermission, the second half opens with a rousing Sousa march from 1900, “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty.” Then the DPO returns to Leonard Bernstein, a composer to whom Maestro Gittleman owes many of his formative musical influences. First, the orchestra presents the medley Suite from the 1976 musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Bernstein’s last original score for Broadway. Then, baritone Alexander J. Harper takes the stage once again to sing “There’s a Law about Men” from Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti, which he began to compose while on his honeymoon in 1951.
Of course, the evening would not be complete without the celebratory 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky, when the 5th Ohio Light Artillery will once again sound the cannons and Matt Hunt will play the gorgeous Carillon Bells. The program will conclude with the traditional Armed Forces Salute by Lowden, and Sousa’s beloved “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Highlights of Dayton Heritage Day include the opportunity to explore over 30 historical buildings and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Patrons may also enjoy carousel and train rides for $1 each, historical games and activities, Americana-style food and beverages for sale, and live entertainment throughout the day, all leading up to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Concert. For more information about the Dayton Heritage Day, visit www.daytonhistory.org.
For more information about Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet or Dayton Opera, please visit our website at www.daytonperformingarts.org.
About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
About Dayton History
Dayton History is Montgomery County’s official historical organization. The organization boasts multiple campuses in the greater Dayton, Ohio area: Carillon Historical Park, Hawthorn Hill, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, the Patterson Homestead, the Old Court House, Memorial Hall, and the Archive Center. Dayton History brings the past to life to understand the present and inspire the future by collecting, preserving, interpreting, presenting, and promoting the region’s past. For more information, call 937.293.2841 or visit www.daytonhistory.org. Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton Ohio, 45409.