September 2021

Take Note
September 2021
From the Maestro
Dear friends,

It's hard to believe, we're nearly there. Our season opener is just six weeks away.

The anticipation you feel at the thought of being able to once again experience live symphonic music in a concert hall is only matched, or perhaps even exceeded, by the excitement and anticipation we musicians feel at the prospect of  performing together again before an in-person audience.

This prolonged absence from one another has only served to reinforce that a central feature of orchestral music is togetherness. Yes, each musician has individual notes to learn and parts to play. Yet, it is the act of weaving these pieces together, while sitting side-by-side, that is truly where the magic of music making takes shape. And to do so before a live audience? Well, it's nothing short of sublime.

We've been away from each other and from you for too long. So on October 24th, we hope you will join us as we reunite to bring works by Tchaikovsky, Eastman and Beethoven to life in The Music Hall and to celebrate what a symphony orchestra is all about
making and enjoying music together.

Until then, be well.

John Page
PSO Music Director
Meet Your Orchestra
John Stewart, Bass

Years playing with the PSO: 10
Age started playing bass: 14
Lives in: Hampton Beach, NH
Did you learn another instrument before you started playing the bass?
At fourteen I enjoyed playing the sousaphone, and they handed me a string bass. When I was fifteen, the bass they gave me had a seam that had opened and I went home and glued it, thus starting me repairing stringed instruments.

Why did you choose your current instrument?
They told me all tuba players also play double bass. I thought it was a law.

What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra? What's your favorite piece(s) of music to play on the bass?
I love being totally surrounded by the sound and the energy of all the performers and our audience. My favorite pieces are Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, and anything by Prokofiev, especially Peter and the Wolf. I may be the only person who has narrated Peter and the Wolf while playing in the orchestra.

How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?
For over fifty years I’ve been a luthier and, up until three years ago, a lighting designer and a freelance theater techie. I also play with the  NH Philharmonic, Seacoast Wind Ensemble, Exeter Town Band, and Willows Concert Band.

Watch John Stewart demonstrate his double bass. 

The Next Generation

Five Spaces Still Available for PSO's Free Youth Music Program

Stringendo, the PSO's tuition free youth music program, will be in-person this fall on Mondays from 4:00-6:00pm. The program kicks off today, but we will continue to accept students until the program reaches capacity.

We are currently accepting all levels of violin, viola, intermediate cello, bass, flute, oboe and keyboard without audition.

Participation in this program is FREE with a commitment of daily practice and regular attendance.

Learn more on the PSO website or email to register today!

Performances Not to Be Missed
PSO Fall Concert & Season Opening Celebration
The Music Hall, Portsmouth

Sunday, October 24, 3pm

The full Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra returns to The Music Hall stage with a live, in-person audience for the 2021-2022 Season Opening Celebration featuring Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Tempest, Julius Eastman’s powerful Gay Guerilla, and Beethoven’s glorious 5th Symphony.

The PSO will take listeners on a musical and emotional journey that includes a complex musical metaphor of weathering and coming out of a storm; a daring musical offering that challenges the listener while offering a powerful message of the invincible human spirit; and a moving transition from darkness to light.

All concerts are preceded at 1:45 pm by Inside the Music, a free pre-concert discussion that provides entertaining insight into the afternoon’s program. BUY TICKETS.
Mark Your Calendar

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform four concerts this season at The Music Hall plus two special Holiday Pops! performances at Portsmouth High School.

We hope you'll join us for the full calendar of unique and wonderful performances:

December 18 & 19: Holiday Pops!
December 31: New Year's Eve Champagne Pops!
March 13: Winter Concert
5: Spring Concert
Of Note
Returning to the Concert Hall in the Time of COVID-19

Around the country, indoor concert venues have implemented new vaccination and masking protocols as a means of keeping the music playing while ensuring the safety of performers, venue staff and audience members alike. The Music Hall has followed suit and recently issued a set of policies that took effect September 1.

Those patrons planning on attending indoor, full capacity events at The Music Hall (including the PSO's upcoming performances) are now required to show proof of full vaccination – 14 days past their final vaccination shot – OR proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the event. Masks are encouraged for everyone. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from this policy but must wear masks indoors. Masks are highly encouraged for those who are unvaccinated. The full policy can be reviewed on The Music Hall's website.

In accordance with Portsmouth Symphony’s ongoing commitment to provide and maintain a performance and rehearsal experience that is free of known hazards and in an effort to safeguard the health of our orchestra members and their families; our customers and visitors; and the community at large from infectious diseases, including COVID-19; the PSO is requiring all of the musicians, without exception, who rehearse and perform with the orchestra to be fully vaccinated and to be masked when indoors at all times.
Investing in Music
Advertise in the PSO Program Booklet

This year the PSO's concert program is going virtual! The PSO concert program is a great way to reach your target audience while supporting an important cultural organization.

As in past years, the concert program will be in use from October through June. The 2021-2022 program will be posted to the PSO's website and available to view via QR code during the performances and throughout the season.

Half and full page ads are available for $100 and $200 respectively. Businesses and organizations interesting in placing an ad or learning more can contact Lorraine Raleigh at by October 1. 


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