PBS New Year’s Eve special highlights Ohio University Singers and Peoples Bank Theatre< < Back to
MARIETTA, Ohio (WOUB) – For many, hearing the phrase “orchestra concert” conjures up a whole laundry list of exclusionary anxieties. Anxieties Maestro Luke Frazier hopes to shake off.
For the past seven years the Ohio University alum and Parkersburg, WV native has lead the American Pops Orchestra with the intention of making it more accessible to the widest possible audience.
As the name implies, the orchestra focuses on performing, preserving, and celebrating American popular music in all its forms. In their latest collaboration with PBS, “United In Song 2022: Ringing in the New Year Together,” Frazier brought the orchestra to small theaters all around the country, including Marietta’s own Peoples Bank Theater.
For each of the tapings, the orchestra arrived with a star-studded line-up of guests in tow, each line-up unique to the filming venue. Featured performers at the Marietta performance include Grand Ole Opry member Rhonda Vincent; gospel singer Natalie Grant; Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez (“Hamilton,” “In The Heights” and “Wicked”) and more.
“All of these artists that regularly appear on television and film in the largest concert halls in the country, it’s just as important that they go to small theaters around our country as well,” said Frazier.
Frazier felt it was also important to highlight aspiring talents from college choirs across the country, such as the Ohio University Singers, who performed under the direction of Dr. Bradley Naylor at the Marietta show.
“This performance [the Ohio University Singers] gave will be out there for audiences around the world to enjoy,” said Naylor. “And that way folks beyond the Ohio Valley will get to know the excellence that happens every day at Ohio University.”
“United in Song 2022: Ringing in the New Year Together” is the third collaborative special PBS has produced with the American Pops Orchestra with the intention of specifically celebrating American music in all its many forms.
Frazier said he believes the diversity inherent in American music reflects the diversity of the people who both create that music and those who enjoy it.
“We are such a cross section of so many cultures and I think the best kind of concerts reflect that diversity, reflect all these viewpoints,” said Frazier. “Ultimately it helps bring people together because what better way to break down barriers between people than to sing together, to hum along together, to tap our feet together?”
WOUB-HD (20.1/44.1) is scheduled to air “United In Song 2022: Ringing in the New Year Together” on New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. ET.