Tuning Up for a Tenth Anniversary: "A Night at the Opera" 1

For the first time in a decade, opera is coming to the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra (JCSO)—and you won’t have to be an opera fan, or even know the titles on the program, to enjoy the performances you’ll hear,  says Executive Director Sue Haggerty,

That’s because the selections, she says, are the work of some of the most revered composers in operatic music, such as Puccini, Rossini, Verde and Wagner, and many of them will be familiar to the audience. Concert-goers will hear arias, such as the famous aria from Carmen, along with well-known choruses, duets and orchestral overture music.

The concert, “A Night at the Opera,” celebrates the JCSO’s 10th anniversary, and will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at Johns Creek United Methodist Church. The full Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will perform for this operatic-rich evening, along with The Johns Creek Chorale and a quartet of guest soloists, all under the direction of Maestro J. Wayne Baughman.

John Lemley, the host and producer of Atlanta’s classical radio show, “City Café,” is scheduled to narrate. Formerly broadcast on 901.WABE, his program is now heard on AM 1690 WMLB, The Voice of the Arts.

“He’s a very well-known radio host in the classical music world,” says Haggerty, “and we’re delighted to have him.”

Haggerty says the JCSO began with Baughman, who envisioned bringing a professional symphonic orchestra to the area after its population began to grow in the late 1990s and early 2000s. With the growth, orchestra supporters saw an increased interest in arts and culture.

“(Baughman) held what he affectionately called a ‘trial concert’ at St. Benedict Church in December 2006. It was an incredible success, with nearly a thousand in attendance.” The JCSO was officially incorporated the following April, and by the fall of 2007, it received its non-profit status.

Since that first year, Haggerty says, each season has gotten better and the audience base has grown.

“The orchestra is made up of extraordinary musicians from around the metro Atlanta area, and many have played all over the country and the world. They continue to push the bar higher and higher.”

Because the JCSO is a part-time professional orchestra that performs just three concerts each season, many of the musicians have businesses of their own, or play in other orchestras. Some perform with quartets or other groups, give lessons to students, or work for schools and universities.

They also participate in the JCSO’s outreach programs, and Haggerty says additional funding is needed each season for those programs.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done with students, helping them learn about the instrument families and how they sound, the techniques needed to play the instruments, and how they work together.” She says the orchestra is also delighted to bring harpists, ensembles and other musicians into senior environments.

If you miss “A Night at the Opera,” you still have time to purchase tickets for the season finale, “Sounds of the Big Bands,’ which will be presented at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, also at Johns Creek United Methodist Church. Talented trumpeter Joe Gransden and his big band will perform, along with the Georgia State University Jazz Ensemble. Jazz singer Carmen Bradford, formerly of the legendary Count Basie band, is the evening’s special guest.

The symphony orchestra’s eleventh season officially begins in December 2017, with a Christmas Gala Holiday Pops Concert. The date, time and other details will be posted on the website, johnscreeksymphony.org, as they become available.

The JCSO is honored, Haggerty says, to perform for audiences who don’t have to drive downtown to enjoy an evening of music. Parking is free at the orchestra’s venue, Johns Creek United Methodist Church (the JCSO is not part of the church).

“Audiences can also go out to dinner in the area and keep the experience local.”

Johns Creek United Methodist Church is located at 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek. Adult tickets are $32 each, while seniors age 55 and up are $27, and students and children are $16. Group rates are available, and season tickets may be purchased for a 20% discount. For more information, to request an outreach program or to volunteer to help the JCSO, email info@johnscreeksymphony.org, call 678.748.5802.