By CHRIS WILSON
Final preparations are being made for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s first concert in Amory.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, the orchestra is bringing a family-oriented musical performance to Amory.
The concert will be staged on the banks of the Tenn-Tom waterway, off Guy Pickle Drive, the road which leads to the Amory lock. Entrance can be made to the site from Highway 25 North, near the Monroe County Government Complex.
A big volunteer effort and two grants as well as donations from individuals and businesses has made the concert possible. There will be no admission charged for the event. Dress is casual and concert-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics so they can have an enjoyable evening of relaxed entertainment.
Parking will be available on the west side of Guy Pickle Drive very near the stage area. The Corps of Engineers has mowed grassy areas to make suitable areas for both the concert, audience and vehicles. There will be National Guard members assisting with the parking of cars as well as volunteers who have worked with the Entertainment for Education event in the past. The Amory Police Department will provide traffic control on Highway 25 before and after the performance.
Organizers said they do not know how many cars will have to be parked since the orchestra has never performed in Amory before, but that people can also park in the county government complex’s parking lot if closer parking areas fill up.
Handicapped parking will also be available. There will also be security and first-aid available on the premises.
Seating is on a first-come, first serve basis, with gates opening at 5 p.m.and the performance set to begin at 7 p.m.
About 55 to 60 professional musicians will perform the show that is somewhat country in nature. There are more pops numbers than classical.
Favorites such as “O Shenandoah,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “William Tell Overture,” and even the theme from “Harry Potter.” Ray McFarland, a vocal soloist will be featured in several of the musical selections.
The evening will conclude with three patriotic numbers, including John Philip Sousa’s rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever” accompanied by a fireworks finale.
Committee member Jean Sanders said the stage should be easily visible from a wide area. Some people are planning to attend the event in their boats on the waterway, and Sanders said this would be fine, but the sound system has been designed to face the seating area on land. “But the boaters will certainly have a great viewing place for the fireworks,” Sanders said. The firework display will be launched from land across the waterway channel as a finale.
Now that all the plans have been made, organizers are watching long range weather forecasts, hoping that the open air event will have favorable weather.
City crews have sprayed the area several times for mosquito control.
Organizers ask that people who attend the event be respectful of the Corps property and dispose of litter in garbage cans.
There will be no public access onto the concrete apron surrounding the Amory Lock.
Robert Reed, president of the Mississippi Symphony, said he hopes the orchestra can come back to Amory again and again in coming years. He said the whole idea is for it to be a fun experience. “Culture is fun,” he said.
The orchestra will also have ensembles visiting seven area schools on Friday, offering a n opportunity for students to talk to professional musicians as well as a closeup look at various instruments.