SIOUX CITY | If you've never attended a Sioux City Symphony Orchestra concert at the Orpheum Theatre before, this is the year to purchase a ticket.
Travis Morgan, the orchestra's chief executive officer, said you don't have to be a follower of classical music to enjoy the 2017-2018 season, which has something for all ages and tastes.
"There's something about being in the Orpheum Theatre, which is one of best venues in America, listening to our symphony orchestra live and feeling the power of the music," Morgan said. "People have heard these songs in movies or commercials or Broadway theater productions. You'll feel it and you'll enjoy it."
The season opens Oct. 1 with Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey, who will join the symphony orchestra for a dramatic performance of the emotionally charged Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar. The evening concludes with one of Zoltan Kodaly's most colorful and enchanting works for orchestra, Hary Janos Suite.
Berlioz's tour-de-force, Symphonie fantastique, headlines a downright spooky event sure to leave concertgoers with goosebumps. Morgan said Berlioz bells will help create a very haunting atmosphere in the Orpheum, which will be transformed into a haunted house.
"It will make your skin crawl. It's very creepy," he said of the music.
The symphony orchestra, which Morgan said is made up of some of the best musicians in the Midwest, will bring the Disney classic "Fantasia" to life on Nov. 18. He said the film will play while the musicians supply the music.
Another concert that is fit for the entire family is "Christmas with the Symphony." This year's concert, on Dec. 9, will feature traditional favorites and popular holiday tunes. The audience will get a chance to sing along while accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
The Siouxland Youth Symphony also joins the symphony orchestra Feb. 10 for "Church Windows," a concert that will take listeners on a vivid journey of some of the most beautifully orchestrated stained-glass color through rich symphonic sonorities.
On March 10, the symphony orchestra will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Grammy-nominated Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies.
"Cherish the Ladies is a very famous group of Celtic women that bring dancers and excitement and great music to the Orpheum," Morgan said. "It'll be super! They're a great group."
The "crown jewel" of the season, according to Morgan, is "West Side Story" on April 21 and 22. He said actors from around the country will be auditioning to come to Sioux City, where they will live for 21 days and rehearse, before performing the widely acclaimed, romantic tragedy. The symphony orchestra will be on stage with the actors playing American composer Leonard Bernstein's music.
"It's the first time it's ever been done in 'West Side Story history.' We had to call the Bernstein family and get permission for this," Morgan said. "Our symphony orchestra will actually be on stage. Through lighting and scrims, we can actually make them appear and disappear for key moments of the musical."
For just $15, Morgan said you can get a seat at a symphony orchestra concert. He said come as you are, no fancy dress is needed.
"Come in whatever you feel comfortable in. You will be accepted," he said. "We want you in the door. We want you to experience what the Sioux City Symphony has to offer."
To purchase tickets, visit the symphony orchestra's website, siouxcitysymphony.org, or the box office, 518 Pierce Street, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the symphony orchestra's office at 712-277-2111.