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Kentucky Symphony Closing Summer Season with Straussing Out

Many polkas, a quadrille, lots of Die Fledermaus – those tuneful Strausses knew how to please an audience.

Kentucky Symphony marks the close of its free concert summer season and kicks-off the beginning of the 2016-17 performance season on Sept. 3 with a trip to Vienna and a program made up entirely of the work of the prolific Strauss family – featuring blank guns, a musical saw, a Tom & Jerry cartoon, the Northern Kentucky Children’s Ensemble and soprano Sarah Viola.

In the beginning there was papa Johann, a self-taught musician who wrote more than 250 waltzes, galops, polkas “and was the city’s society band leader,” explains KSO music director James Cassidy.

The father encouraged his son Johann II to pursue a more certain profession, but happily for almost 150 years of audiences, junior didn’t listen. Strauss Jr., the “Waltz King,” famously wrote more than 500 compositions including beloved operetta Die Fledermaus.

Brothers Eduard and Josef followed in the business, Cassidy added, “Composing and even leading the orchestra when the younger Johann fell ill and wished to focus on composing.”

The Strauss program includes Sarah Viola, who has performed operatic and musical theater roles across America and Europe. She’ll perform “Fruhlingsstimme (Voices of Spring)” (listen for the flute imitating birdsong) and showy aria “The Laughing Song” from Die Fledermaus.

Based in Cincinnati, Viola will be onstage in the upcoming season in The Nights Before Christmas at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts and as Marian (the Librarian) in The Music Man at The Carnegie.

The Northern Kentucky Children’s Ensemble made its debut singing the “Tritsch Tratsch Polka” during the KSO’s very first season. On Sept. 3 they come together again to celebrate their 25th anniversaries.

Symphony cellist Katrina Aguiar trades in her cello for a saw as the program takes a detour to Franz Lehar’s “Vilja Song” from The Merry Widow.

Straussing Out, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3. Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Devou Park, Covington. Free admission and parking, donations suggested. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Picnics welcome, Buona Vita Pizzeria food truck will serve meatball sliders and more. Guests can also phone-in catered orders and pick them up in the park (menu on-line

A round-trip TANK Shuttle from Covington Catholic to the band shell runs from 6 -7:30 p.m., $1 each way. For more information, call the KSO at visit the KSO at 859-431-6216 or visit

-Staff report