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Kentucky Symphony Orchestra kicks off 28th season in Devou Park with ‘Marches Madness’ July 9

Here’s how a really great evening plays out beneath a starry sky in The Cov:

First you grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, snacks, and a frisbee for the kids or the dog. Then you stretch out on a verdant hillside in Devou Park to listen to the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (KSO) perform the soundtrack to your evening.

The KSO Summer Series is back, starting this Saturday (July 9), for what will be its 28th Summer Series in the iconic Devou Park Band Shell. The family-friendly entertainment is free and, for many, a standing summer tradition.

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in Devou Park: It’s a long-standing family tradition. (Photo from KSO)

While the series began in 1995, the concert bowl and its tradition of free entertainment date back to when the band shell was built more than 83 years ago.

“The tree-lined lawn bowl in Devou Park has always been part of the attraction, where multiple generations of families, friends, and neighbors could picnic and relax, as the kids and grandkids rolled down the hill, all the while listening to quality, free, family-friendly culture and entertainment,” said J.R. Cassidy, KSO’s music director.

Cassidy said the KSO series was popular and successful “from the get-go,” in part because of financial support from the Scripps Howard Foundation and help from City leaders and Parks & Rec staff.

“People came by the thousands – 40% of them from Cincinnati,” he said. “I believe the crowds kept coming because of the orchestra’s quality and variety of thematic programming, which continues to this day. Where else can you go and gather your entire family to share memory-making experiences for free?”

The KSO 2022 Summer Series:

• Saturday, July 9: “Marches Madness,” a full orchestral concert featuring 17 well-known marches from classics, opera, ballet, and film. Cassidy said folks will recognize marches penned by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Felix Mendelssohn, Hector Berlioz, Edward Elgar, Richard Wagner, John Williams, John Philip Sousa, and more.

•  Saturday, August 6: “Sunday in the Park with Steve,” a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, who died last November at age 90. Broadway veterans and a stellar cast of local vocalists will join the performance.

Saturday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day weekend): “The Pack is Back,” featuring Greater Cincinnati’s versions of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., complete with croon tunes and original charts with the KSO’s all-star band and strings.

While the concerts are free to the public, they’re not free to produce. Cassidy said donations are welcome because the series costs just over six figures to cover musicians, artist fees, music licensing, rental equipment, staff, and more.

“Fortunately, Northern Kentucky business community sponsors, generous area foundations, and in-kind support from the City have come through to help support these summer outings over the years,” Cassidy said. “The KSO hopes individuals attending this year will show their appreciation for the music and their memories to contribute at the donation boxes, or on-line, to help make up the difference and keep this summer outdoor tradition vital for generations to come.”

City of Covington

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