Stars come out at night for ‘Sunset Symphony’

The Nittany Valley Symphony will use the longest day of the year to present an evening of classical music under the stars at Tussey Mountain.

The group’s annual “Sunset Symphony” will be held June 21 evening and will feature a selection of lighter classical music that pays tribute to traditional composers and Broadway legends.

Smith Toulson, the group’s music director and conductor for this performance, said the evening will begin with a set of classical and modern dances, including Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” and a medley from “Lord of the Dance.”

“This is a fun concert to do, and it’s a little more lighthearted than our performances in the spring and fall,” Toulson said. “In the past we’ve done all kinds of things going back and forth between classical overtures and more familiar Broadway shows.”

In keeping with the Broadway theme, Toulson said the program’s second half will feature selections from “A Chorus Line” as a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away last year. That set will also include several Henry Mancini songs that have been arranged for orchestra.

“Mancini wasn’t a Broadway composer per se, but he has several popular tunes from movies and TV shows like ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘The Pink Panther’ that we’ll be performing.”

Nittany Valley Symphony Executive Director Roberta Strebel said the sun should set over Tussey Mountain just before the end of the two-hour performance. In case of rain, the concert will be held in State College Area High School’s South Building auditorium.

“This performance draws a broad audience and it’s one of our largest events of the year,” Strebel said. “We invite people to bring their folding chairs, make themselves comfortable, relax and enjoy a great evening of music.”