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OU to Kick Off “Under the Elms” Concert Series

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“Under the Elms,” the long-running outdoor concert series on Ohio University’s College Green, will open its season the first week of June.

The free concert series will be held at Wilhelm Amphitheater for five evenings — all Wednesdays — throughout the summer, beginning June 3. The concerts, which last for about an hour, start at 7 p.m.

Hosted by the College of Fine Arts, the School of Music, and Ohio University Bands, the “Under the Elms” series has been a staple in the community during summertime, running consecutively for nearly 40 years.

“We have people who don’t miss a concert,” said Music Director Andrew Trachsel, Ohio University’s director of bands. “It means a lot to the patrons — but also the players.”

Also called the Communiversity Band, the “Under the Elms” concert band is made up of students, faculty and alumni, plus community members from Athens and the surrounding area. The ensemble typically includes around 90 to 100 members and features woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, Trachsel said.

The tradition first started in the 1940s, when, due to World War II, the University experienced an influx of former soldiers pursuing music education. Since then, the series has seen only one hiatus (a 7-year period following the 1970 shooting at Kent State).

Trachsel said this year’s line-up coincides nicely with a number of other events around town. The opening concert on June 3, which will be held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Athena Cinema, will feature music from film and vaudeville.

The following week, the “Sounds of Space” program will tie in with the International Space University’s Space Studies Program, which will be hosted by OU this summer. The concert series will culminate with the band’s annual Independence Day celebration, on July 1.

“The series affords us an opportunity to get to share the talents of a lot of people,” said Trachsel, who described the diverse group as comprising a “fun potpourri of backgrounds.”

Trachsel emphasized the variety of featured songs, which will range from classical to patriotic to popular music such as the Beatles. The ensemble rehearses once the night before each performance, he said.

“Bring your kids, bring your pets, bring a picnic,” Trachsel said.

Wilhelm Amphitheater, built in 1984, is situated on Ohio University’s College Green between Scripps Hall and McGuffey Hall.

The concert schedule is as follows: “Athena Cinema at 100: A Musical Celebration” on June 3; “Sounds of Space” on June 10; “Mozart on the Green & Summer Music Camp” on June 17; “Be Our Guest” on June 24; and “Celebrate America!” on July 1.

In the event of inclement weather, the back-up location for the concert will be the Forum Theater, inside the Radio-Television Building, on South College Street.