American Wind Symphony performs Saturday

POINT PLEASANT —With the one-of-a-kind concert performed by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra only days away, plans are shaping up for the unique event.

The music starts at 8 p.m., Saturday at Riverfront Park when 40 musicians from around the world will perform pieces written specifically for the orchestra. Right now, there is a real need to provide housing for these professional musicians Saturday-Tuesday in Point Pleasant. Other host cities, such as Huntington, have stepped up to provide housing through it’s local woman’s club.

Jack Fowler of the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center, which is hosting the orchestra along with the City of Point Pleasant, has been attempting to secure housing for these professional musicians in the community. Fowler said there was a miscommunication concerning the original housing plans that has left organizers attempting to devise a backup plan to host these well-educated and talented musicians, some of whom will be returning in September to work with students in local band programs by teaching fundamentals of orchestral instruments through the “Winds Over West Virginia” program.

Fowler said he hopes individuals, businesses or churches may step up to provide these visitors with a place to stay and show them the hospitality that other communities have agreed to show them. Fowler said even if someone could host one musician, that would be helpful, especially to that one musician. For anyone who may be able to provide temporary housing for members of the orchestra, call Teka McCauley, administrative assistance to Mayor Brian Billings at 304-675-2360.

Saturday’s concert is free and is one in a series of concerts which will begin in Huntington on Thursday and travel all around the immediate area, including Ravenswood, St. Albans, Princeton, Marietta and East Liverpool, Ohio, among others.

In addition to the orchestra’s performance, a local choir will perform a number and Mayor Billings will also be doing some readings.

One of the reasons the concert is so unique is that it is performed on its own floating stage/barge on the vessel the Point Counterpoint II. The vessel simply parks at the venue and unfolds into a unique stage. The vessel is 195 feet long and 38 feet wide with an art gallery on the inside as well as a mini-theater currently being used to store percussion instruments which will be prominent in Saturday’s performance.

According to the American Wind Symphony Orchestra organization, for 57 years, it has been making musical headlines along the waterways of the United States, the Caribbean and northern Europe. It is under the direction of Maestro Robert Austin Boudreau.

Though Saturday’s performance is in Point Pleasant, everyone from Mason County and surrounding counties are welcome to come enjoy this free event and an evening of music along the Ohio River.