Symphony Orchestra Guild going ‘50 for 50’

Mariusz Smolij will be guest conductor for the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert on Feb. 4.
Mariusz Smolij will be guest conductor for the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert on Feb. 4. Courtesy Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra

For 50 years, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra Guild has been promoting the Symphony Orchestra along the Coast.

To celebrate the milestone, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra Guild will host a 50th Anniversary Luncheon on Feb. 3 at the Great Southern Club, the top floor of the Hancock Bank building in downtown Gulfport. Guest speaker will be Dr. Peter Rubardt, music director and conductor.

Doors will open at 10:30 for networking, and the program will begin at 11:30. Admission is $30 per person; you do not have to be a Guild member to attend. There will be a cash bar.

The Guild has established a “50 for 50” campaign to raise $50,000 to present to the symphony to help ensure another 50 years of music, according to a release from the Guild.

The Guild, established in 1967, helps the Symphony Orchestra by presenting it as a vital, essential and cultural asset as well as offering fund-raising efforts to support the organization. Over the years, the Guild’s fundraisers have included balls, galas, cooking schools, designer show houses, formal teas, two cookbooks, book fairs, playing cards, a yellow duck race and a luncheon with former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, plus performances by Tony Bennett and Luciano Pavarotti. Perhaps their best-known fundraiser is the popular annual Barbecue Under the Oaks.

The Symphony itself, founded in 1962, is now in its 55th year of bringing classical music to the Gulf Coast. Four classical concerts, two youth orchestra concerts, the Holiday Pops concert, two free outdoor patriotic Memorial Day concerts and programs in elementary schools are among the Symphony’s annual presentations.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 4, the Symphony Orchestra will be under the baton of guest conductor Mariusz Smolij for the Beethoven & Blue Jeans classical concert at the Saenger Theater. Smolij will lead the orchestra through Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to “Barber of Seville,” Mikhail Glinka’s “Kamarinskaya,” Bedrich Smetana’s Three Dances from “The Bartered Bride” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Smolij is in his 10th year as music director of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in Lafayette, Louisiana, and in his 17th season as music director of the Riverside Symphonia in New Jersey.

He will participate in the free Words on Music discussion at Gulf Oaks Clubhouse, 527 Front Beach, Ocean Springs, at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 and repeated at noon Feb. 3 at the Guild’s luncheon at the Great Southern Club.

Barbecue Under the Oaks will be held March 25 at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport.

For more information on the Guild and the Symphony Orchestra, call 896-4276.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

If you go

Who: Gulf Coast Symphony Guild

What: 50th Anniversary Luncheon

When: 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3

Where: Great Southern Club

Tickets: $30 per person

Details: Call 228-896-4276