The River Cities Symphony Orchestra spent Friday fine-tuning the finishing touches on its set list for its annual Pops Concert titled, "A Night at the Opera" at the Lafayette Hotel. It will be the last performance of the season and a part of a 17-year tradition of professional symphony music in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
RCSO, established in 1997 after the Marietta Chamber Orchestra dissolved, is one of seven recipients of the 2014 Artsbridge Grants given to programs that support the mission of the Artsbridge organization to foster the arts locally.
Though grants are applied for and awarded on an annual basis, RCSO has been a recipient nearly since its establishment, according to Artsbridge Executive Director Jane Irvine.
JACKIE RUNION The Marietta Times
Director Robert Turrizziani conducts a final rehearsal of the River Cities Symphony Orchestra before it performs “A Night at the Opera” at the Lafayette Hotel Friday, an event made possible through community support, including the funds the orchestra receives as a recipient of Artsbridge grant awards.
"Artsbridge helps fund groups that support our mission...and RCSO definitely follows that mission, so we're honored to grant them monies to help support it," she said.
That mission is "to improve the quality of life in the Mid-Ohio Valley by promoting and supporting the arts through financial and technical support and arts education in our schools and community," which Artsbridge does through a variety of ways, including the distribution of what it receives through its United Arts Fund drive.
The goal for the drive this year is set at $75,000 as Artsbridge turns to its current sponsors while finding new ones.
"Organizations apply for a percentage of what we receive from the United Arts Drive," Irvine said. "We get a piece of that pie and then we cut off pieces to share among our applicants."
RCSO, along with several others, was recently announced as a 2014 grant recipient.
"The mission is to provide the highest level of orchestral music attainable featuring professional musicians," said Sarah Jalbert, who serves as a publicity representative for the orchestra.
The musicians that comprise the orchestra come from the Mid-Ohio Valley but also from areas as far away as Connecticut and Kentucky.
The orchestra holds three to four concerts throughout the Marietta and Parkersburg areas per year, including two performances per year within the private and public school system that are meant to inspire musical interest in students while keeping a heavy arts presence in the schools.
"The orchestra features 45 to 55 outstanding musicians for each of these concerts," Jalbert said. "And RCSO features outstanding soloists and artists of truly international reputation."
Friday's concert at the Lafayette Hotel was performed under the direction of Robert Turizziani, the orchestra's music director for the past 12 years.
"The orchestra has grown enormously over the past 15 years and they really do an incredible job," Turizziani said.
The educational concerts, which recently included performances at Newport Elementary and St. Mary School, are designed to keep children engaged in music.
"Kids are always eager to learn, and this can give them a push to learn an instrument," Turrizziani said. "It's both a little bit of education and a little bit of entertainment."
Turrizziani said it is organizations like Artsbridge that make their performances possible, as the orchestra does not currently have a home base and typically rehearses at Marietta College facilities.
"We have a lot of interest from the community, but if we get money we can do more," he said. "The life and death of an orchestra really relies on the community."
Though Artsbridge accepts donations to go toward supporting its many arts organizations, programs and artists, the United Arts Fund campaign for 2014 will end June 30.
Funds will be distributed to the seven recipients as well as two smaller projects.
Those wishing to donate to the fund can call the Artsbridge office in Parkersburg or donate directly through its website.