Friday, March 26, 2010

Waving the stick for music education

Six celebrity guests will conduct the Richmond Symphony in a benefit concert for the orchestra's music-education program at 8 p.m. May 22 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage.

The six are Caressa Cameron, the current Miss America; Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones; singer-songwriter Susan Greenbaum; Bobbie Barajas of WCVE-FM; Dr. Lance D. Watson, senior pastor of St. Paul's Baptist Church; and Nutzy, mascot the Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team. They will wield their batons in popular classics such as "Ride of the Valkyries" from Wagner's "Die Walk├╝re," the Trepak from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" and "Hoedown" from Copland's "Rodeo."

Prior to the concert, the six will be coached in conducting technique by Erin R. Freeman, the orchestra's associate conductor.

Steven Smith, the symphony's new music director, also will conduct at the concert, whose master of ceremonies will be Ryan Nobles, anchor of Fox Richmond News.

The orchestra's musicians are donating their services for the event.

Audience members will be invited to vote for their favorite guest conductor via personal electronic devices, and to make donations in honor of a guest conductor.

Tickets are $25-$75, with $12 tickets available for children and college students. To purchase tickets, call (800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster) or visit Donations also can made by going to the website.