Big Sounds in Small Towns

15833910858_8acb381804_zWriter / Johnette Cruz . Photos / Provided by ISO

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is known for its musical, creative talent and artistry. Founded in 1930, the ISO became an organization that rapidly grew into one of the nation’s renowned orchestras. The last half of 2014 became even more exciting when the ISO launched the new 317 Series, bringing orchestra concerts and programs to communities and schools outside of Indianapolis, which meant bringing their talent to Avon and the Greater Greenwood area. The ISO performed in November at Center Grove High School and will be making their second debut to Johnson County Thursday, February 26 at Mount Pleasant Christian Church. The concert features Gershwin’s “Concerto in F,” Copland’s beautifully adventurous “Appalachian Spring” and John Adams’ upbeat composition “Lollapalooza.”

Jessica Di Santo, the director of communications for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra explained how the series came into fruition. “The 317 Series was a collective idea among ISO staff that began with the question, ‘how do we reach more communities which are currently underserved by the ISO?’ The scope of the initiative then grew to identifying which communities had a strong arts and music programs in their high schools and enthusiasm for collaborating with the ISO. In order to attract new patrons to classical music, the ISO is committed to not only perform in more communities, but immerse ourselves in more places,” says Di Santo. “We must dispel the myth that classical music is only for a certain audience. It’s music – the universal language – and not just for a select group of people. The art we make onstage is portable, so to speak, so we must go where our communities are and take advantage of the incredible, new venues all over the city, within our schools and churches.”16021324075_13755b70b1_z

Both Di Santo and Beth Outland, the vice president, community engagement and strategic innovation for the ISO see a huge potential in the greater Greenwood area. Di Santo says. “We have strong arts support among residents and an excellent arts and music program at Center Grove High School. As the ISO considered where to start the new 317 Series, the greater Greenwood area quickly rose to the top. The ISO has had a long relationship with many of the schools in Johnson County, serving them with ISO Discovery Concerts and teachers’ workshops. This kind of commitment to providing a high quality well rounded arts education experience makes these areas an ideal place.”

Outland also acknowledges, “The performing and visual arts are an important part of a vibrant and thriving community. It is clear that the Greater Greenwood area is striving to attract residents and businesses by offering a great quality of life. The ISO wants to support Johnson County’s efforts by making outstanding music experiences available close to home. This provides opportunities for families to enjoy concerts together, students studying music to have access to high-level professionals and the community to become a destination for people who love and value the arts.”

Brian Tabor, worship arts pastor of Mount Pleasant Christian Church, is both honored and overwhelmed at the opportunity to host an ISO event at the church. “We are thrilled to have the chance to work with such incredible talent and introduce a different form of music to the community of the greater Greenwood area. As a church, our worship staff is heavily involved in the planning and execution of music for all weekend services so personally I’m looking forward to meeting professional musicians and seeing their craft firsthand. We welcome the ISO to our campus, and people who experience a program like this for the first time will be blown away.”

Di Santo thinks that the 317 Series is off to a fabulous start and is very pleased with the attendance of their events thus far. “We are overwhelmed by hundreds of patrons who want to subscribe to the full series. Feedback has been incredibly positive. Businesses in the Greater Greenwood area are on board to help us reach success; for example, the Center Grove School Corporation, Greater Greenwood Arts Council, Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Johnson County Community Foundation, Leadership Johnson County, Mallow Run Winery and Mount Pleasant Christian Church.”

Tickets to the next 317 Series concert February 26, at Mount Pleasant Christian Church, are on sale now at or through the ISO Box Office at 317-639-4300.

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