By SARA ARTHURS
STAFF WRITER

On Friday, the new Marathon Center for the Performing Arts will host its first orchestra performance with “Toledo Symphony Celebrates the Oscars!”

The show, nine days before Hollywood’s annual Academy Awards broadcast, will feature an award-winning array of favorite film music, including music from such well-known films as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “West Side Story,” “Frozen” and “Star Wars,” among several others.

Kathleen Stacy, marketing director for the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, said she was “really, really ecstatic” to have the symphony performing there. Stacy said it will be the first show without amplification, and she is looking forward to experiencing the acoustics.

“I’m very, very excited to see what the orchestra will sound like,” she said.

Felecia Kanney, education and community outreach manager for the Toledo Symphony, said the symphony has for a long time had a “really great relationship” with the city of Findlay, performing at many locations including the University of Findlay and Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

In fact, the symphony performed at the Marathon Center location before — back when it was Central Middle School. Young people’s concerts were held there in collaboration with the Arts Partnership.

“It’s like coming back home, really,” Kanney said.

Nancy Lendrim, principal harpist, has played at Central Middle School with the Toledo Symphony, and also played there once with the American Harp Society’s Northwest Ohio Chapter. She is looking forward to seeing the venue now that it is no longer the middle school but the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.

“I’m really excited to see the changes,” she said.

Friday’s show is designed to appeal to people of all ages.

Stacy said when they first started talking about the program, they wanted to create something that would appeal to a traditional audience but would also be something to which people could bring their children.

Kanney recalled sitting in on a programming meeting with Sara Jobin, the symphony’s interim resident conductor, and Merwin Siu, the principal second violinist and artistic administrator, as they started talking about which films’ music to include. She said a programming meeting like this involves making a lot of decisions and listening to the music, paying attention to the timing and the placement of the pieces.

Lendrim said the symphony has never done music from “Frozen” before.

At Friday’s concert, Jobin will speak between the pieces, creating a narrative designed to connect with the audience.

Kanney said this allows the symphony to educate listeners on the music, as well as telling them what to listen for in each upcoming piece.

This is the Toledo Symphony‘s 72nd season. The orchestra will comprise 65 members.

Symphony musicians perform in a variety of concerts including classics, pops, chamber, Mozart and more, and family series. Lendrim noted that they also perform with other organizations such as the Toledo Opera.

“Every day is something different,” she said.

This week’s concerts, in addition to the one in Findlay, include a young people’s concert and a ProAm, a community event in which professional and amateur musicians work side by side.

Both of these are in Toledo.

The symphony travels throughout Ohio as well as into southern Michigan. Annually, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra reaches more than 260,000 individuals through performances and education programs.

Jobin is chief conductor for the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York and has guest conducted for opera companies in Toledo, Pittsburgh, Anchorage, Tacoma, Arizona, Idaho and orchestras in Toledo, Dayton, Silicon Valley, Germany, Hungary, France and China.

Her first full-length recording, the American opera “Vol pone” by John Musto, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for best opera recording. She also recorded a Chris Brubeck premiere with legendary mezzo Frederica von Stade.

She was named a Leonard Bernstein Music Scholar by Harvard College and earned her black belt in judo the same day she conducted Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for the first time. Tired of operas where women die as victims, she founded the Different Voice Opera Project in collaboration with Carol Gilligan.

The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, in the planning stages since 1999, is built on the site of the former Central Middle School. A 501(c)(3) organization was formed in January 2013, groundbreaking was in July 2014 and the center’s inaugural season launched with a gala opening weekend on Dec. 18 and 19, 2015.

Kanney has been the primary contact between the Toledo Symphony and the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts and said she has enjoyed working with Stacy as well as Christopher Jones, the Marathon Center’s production manager/technical director.

Stacy said ticket sales are strong so far and people are excited about the show. In the center’s inaugural season, they are striving to offer a variety of different shows, she said.

“We really want to serve this community,” she said.

“Toledo Symphony Celebrates The Oscars!” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, 200 W. Main Cross St. Tickets may be purchased online at www.marathoncenterarts.org. From noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, patrons may also purchase tickets by calling the ticket office at 419-423-2787 or visiting the center. The ticket office is also open one hour before all performances and during intermission.

Sponsors include Thomas and Kathleen Donnell and Imaging Consultants of Findlay.

Arthurs: 419-427-8494
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