Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony’s summer concerts return
The Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony performs on the steps of City Hall in July 2011. The 2012 Friday night concert season begins June 22. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 22, 2012 7:54PM
It’s another sign of summer in the city: the return of the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony to Hodges Park.
The nine-week, free Friday-night-concert series kicks off its 52nd year at 8 p.m. June 22 with “European Holiday,” featuring works from Mendelssohn, Debussy, Tchaikowsky and Liszt. The concert will also showcase trumpet player Ross Beacraft, who will perform “Carnival of Venice.”
The Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony performs on the steps of Park Ridge City Hall, 505 Butler Place, with Hodges Park open to audiences to set up seats and picnic areas. This year the concert series will also feature performances by the Brian Patti Band and the Rob Parton Big Band.
For the past few years the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society has seen orchestra-concert funding from traditional sources dwindle. Contributions from the city of Park Ridge were eliminated three years ago; funding from the state is no longer available; and financial support from the Musicians Union Music Performance Fund has diminished.
Last year the Fine Arts Society relied heavily on donations to fund the 2012 season, raising $25,000 from private contributions (including a $10,000 donation from a single family), $16,000 in corporate contributions and $12,000 from two foundations, said Society President and Treasurer Dennis Van Mieghem.
“The individual contributions were triple from the prior year,” he said. “We were really pushing for individual contributions.”
Mieghem said he is happy with the response.
“In a tough economy I was very pleased with what we raised,” he said.
Additional funding to cover this year’s expenses came from an annual fundraising ball, ad-book sales and the Musicians Union Music Performance Fund.
Concert themes for the remainder of the summer include:
• “Adventures of Don Juan,” June 29, featuring ballet music from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Don Juan” and selections from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” Baritone Jeffrey Ray and soprano Patrice Michaels will also perform.
• “Symphonic Swing,” July 6, a night of Big Band-era tunes.
• “Latin American Fiesta,” July 13, celebrating works of North American and Latin American composers, and featuring folk tunes and dance melodies.
• “Stage and Screen,” July 20, a salute to Hollywood film composers and Broadway. Works of Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Williams, and Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein will be performed. There will also be solo from the score of “Schindler’s List.”
“A Triumphant Finale,” July 27. The orchestra will perform Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” with arias of Charles Gounod and Frank Lehar sung by Nathalie Colas.
• “The Best of Frank Sinatra,” Aug. 3, featuring a selection of Sinatra songs performed by the Brian Patti band.
• a special bonus concert, Aug. 10, by the Rob Parton Big Band.
In addition, on July 3 the Fine Arts Society will host “Patriotic Salute,” an evening of patriotic songs performed by the Brian Patti Big Band at Maine East High School, 2601 W. Dempster St. The concert will take place prior to the annual fireworks celebration.
“It should be a great series,” Mieghem said.