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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Host 'O Say Can You See' Gala, 9/20

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Host 'O Say Can You See' Gala, 9/20

Signaling the start of the social season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will hold its annual Gala Celebration on Saturday, September 20 at 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This year's Gala concert will be led by BSO Music Director Marin Alsop. On the heels of the 200th birthday of the National Anthem, the evening will showcase American music and artists, beginning with a revival of Ferde Grofé's Ode to the Star-Spangled Banner, brought back to the stage for its first public performance in 80 years. The program also features celebrated blind American jazz pianist Marcus Roberts with the Marcus Roberts Trio performing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue; Center Stage's visionary Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah narrating Copland's Lincoln Portrait; and the Morgan State University Choir lending their voices to selections from the composer's Old American Songs. Please see below for complete program details.


To accompany the BSO's gala opening performance of Ode to the Star Spangled Banner and Rhapsody in Blue, the Library of Congress is organizing a display of rare, historical documents to be displayed in the Meyerhoff lobby. These will include an original copy of "To Anacreon in Heaven," the British social club's song to which "The Star Spangled Banner" was set; one of only 11 existing copies of the original 1814 sheet music for "The Star Spangled Banner," published in Baltimore within days of the bombardment; a copy of the poem in Francis Scott Key's handwriting; and Grofé's handwritten scores for both the Ode and Rhapsody in Blue, the latter being the score that Paul Whiteman used to conduct Rhapsody's 1924 debut.

The BSO's Celebration Gala is the organization's largest and most important fundraising event of the year, and this year's Honorary Chairperson is Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. It raises funds to support the Orchestra's educational outreach programs in Baltimore and throughout the State of Maryland. The Celebration Gala offers an evening of entertainment and fine dining provided by Classic Catering. Pre- and post-concert gala festivities will take place in an event tent located just outside of the Meyerhoff.


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by Peter Danish