Monday, March 28

ISO: Symphony on the Prairie Lineup to Include Christopher Cross

Since its inception in 1982, when 14-year-old violin sensation Joshua Bell made his professional debut in the inaugural concert, the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie series has grown from humble beginnings to become one of Indiana’s favorite summertime traditions. Marsh Supermarkets has been the Title Sponsor of the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie series for the past 30 seasons.

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Announces 30th Anniversary Season of Marsh Symphony on the Prairie Concert Series
June 25 – Sept. 4

Debuts include folk music legend Arlo Guthrie
and Grammy Award-winners

Winners from the American Pianists Association and the ISO’s Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest make appearances in classical programs.
Returning favorites include the Classical Mystery Tour, Flash Cadillac, Time for Three, Michael Cavanaugh and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
10-ticket value packs, full season table subscriptions and group reservations on sale now; single tickets and single reserved tables go on sale later in the spring.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra marks the 30th anniversary of its summertime series, Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, with legendary and award-winning artists, a broad mix of symphonic music, and the return of popular bands and ensembles from previous seasons.

From June 25 through September 4, the ISO will present 26 concerts over the course of 11 weekends at the Conner Prairie Amphitheater, located at 13400 N. Allisonville Rd., in Fishers, Indiana. Among the many season highlights will be the MarshSymphony on the Prairie debuts of legendary folk singer and songwriter Arlo Guthrie, who will perform a diverse program with the ISO’s ensemble-in-residence, Time for Three, and first-time series appearances by award-winning country artist Lee Ann Womack and Grammy and Oscar-winning 1980s pop music icon Christopher Cross. The Orchestra will present two programs of popular classical favorites and also will be joined by guest artists such as the Classical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles, pianist Michael Cavanaugh, singer Steve Lippia and the winners from the American Pianists Association and the ISO’s own Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Young Musicians Contest.

A Summertime Tradition for 30 Seasons

At first, the Orchestra performed on an uncovered concrete slab next to a grove of trees on the Conner Prairie hillside. The performance space was later enhanced with a large tent to provide protection from the weather for the musicians. In 1990, the ISO purchased a canvas acoustical concert shell that would accommodate theatrical lighting and produce better sound for the audiences. One year later, a $1.9 million renovation of the site created a beautiful natural grass amphitheater with lighted paved pathways, an elaborate permanent stage area with air-conditioned dressing rooms for the guest artists and musicians and new concession stand and pavilion area.

Over the past three decades the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie series has provided all music lovers a casual, comfortable and accessible concert experience with opportunities to picnic and enjoy great music. In 2010, a record-breaking 113,895 people attended the summer series.  

2011 Marsh Symphony on the Prairie Schedule:
June 25:  American Landscapes
The opening night program to kick off the 30th anniversary season will feature conductor Edwin Outwater leading the Orchestra in a performance of American classical music favorites by Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein. Pianist Jiwon Park, the ISO’s 2011 Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest winner, will perform the first movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s romantic Second Piano Concerto.

July 1-4:  Star-Spangled Symphony
A Marsh Symphony on the Prairie audience favorite, conductor Alfred Savia will direct four concerts featuring many patriotic favorites including Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address set to the music from the film Gettysburg, the 1812 Overture with live artillery accompaniment and Stars and Stripes Forever with a spectacular fireworks display. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

July 8 & 9:  Christopher Cross with the ISO
Award-winning pop music icon Christopher Cross will bring his melodic blend of rock and acoustic music to Conner Prairie to perform signature top-selling singles such as “Sailing,” “Arthur’s Theme,” “Never Be the Same” and “Ride Like The Wind” in a special symphonic program with the ISO under the direction of ISO Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly.  

July 15 & 16:  Sinatra Songbook with Steve Lippia
Guest conductor Jerry Steichen and noted singer Steve Lippia will join the Orchestra to present the many hits by legendary singer Frank Sinatra.
July 22 & 23:  Arlo Guthrie and Time for Three
Renowned folk artist and songwriter Arlo Guthrie (son of legendary American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie) will make his Symphony on the Prairie debut in performances with the ISO’s own ensemble-in-residence, Time for Three. Together with the ISO, Guthrie and Time for Three will present an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, bluegrass and other popular standards plus some of Guthrie’s signature songs such as “Alice’s Restaurant.”

July 29 & 30:  Evening in Olde Vienna
Conductor Eugene Tzigane and Grace Fong, the 2010 American Pianists Association Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, join the ISO for a weekend of classical music featuring Viennese masters such as Johann Strauss Jr. (Overture to Die Fledermaus) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat, K. 271).

August 5 & 6:  The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John featuring Michael Cavanaugh
The ISO and Maestro Jack Everly welcome the return of Michael Cavanaugh, the artist hand-picked by Billy Joel to play the title role in his award-winning Broadway musical,Movin’ Out, to perform many timeless hits by two iconic pop music pianists and songwriters – Billy Joel and Elton John.  

Classical Mystery TourAugust 11, 12 & 13:  Classical Mystery Tour:  Music of the Beatles
Back by popular demand for a third consecutive summer season, the four original members of the Broadway cast of Beatlemania will perform many Beatles hits such as “Eleanor Rigby,” “Penny Lane,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Twist and Shout” and others in an authentic tribute to Liverpool’s “Fab Four” with guest conductor Martin Herman and the ISO.

*August 19 & 20:  Glenn Miller Orchestra
The Glenn Miller Orchestra and bandleader Gary Tole return to the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie series to perform many of the legendary band’s timeless hits such as “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade” and other classics that defined the Big Band era of music in the 1930s and 1940s.

*August 26 & 27:  Lee Ann Womack’s Prairie Debut
Renowned award-winning country music  artist Lee Ann Womack will make her MarshSymphony on the Prairie debut to perform many of her original country hits such as “I Hope You Dance,” “I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” “The Fool” and ‘Never Again, Again.”  

*September 1 & 2:  Flash Cadillac is Back
After a five-year hiatus from the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie lineup, the popular rock band made famous by the film American Graffiti, Flash Cadillac, returns to the Conner Prairie stage to perform many popular favorites from the Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll plus other original ‘50s and ‘60s-style tunes they have written.

*September 3 & 4:  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings its blend of jazz, swing, Dixieland and Big Band music back to the Conner Prairie Amphitheater to close the Marsh Symphony on the Prairieseason. Both performances will include a fireworks finale.

* The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra does not perform in these concerts

The 2011 Marsh Symphony on the Prairie series is sponsored by Marsh Supermarkets. St. Vincent Health is the Premiere Sponsor for the summer series.  

Ticket and Reservation Information
Patrons can save up to 40 percent on single ticket prices by ordering Value Packs of 10 concert tickets for $155 from now until April 30.  From May 1-June 25, Value Packs are $180. Season-long table subscriptions may be purchased now in full configurations (seating up to 10) for $389 for 12 tables. Groups of 30 people or more may save at discounts up to 30% off the admission price at the gate. On-sale dates for single tickets and single table sales will be announced in the near future.

Reservations for Value Packs and season table subscriptions may be made in person at the Hilbert Circle Theatre Box Office, by phone by calling (317) 639-4300 or (800) 366-8457 outside of Indianapolis, or online at  For group sales, contact ISO Group Sales Manager Jeff Johnson at (317) 231-6788 or via email at

For more information on all Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra indoor and outdoor presentations, contact the Hilbert Circle Theatre Box Office at (217) 639-4300, toll free (800) 366-8457 outside of Indianapolis, or online at

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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