Missoula Symphony kicks off soulful season

Symphony in the Park delivers Music for the Soul Aug. 14 at Caras Park

On Stage

The Missoula Symphony kicks off the 2022-’23 season with their annual outdoor concert, Symphony in the Park, 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at Caras Park, under the direction of Music Director Julia Tai. Missoulians have set aside the second Sunday of August for this local favorite for 17 years now, and the free event always draws a crowd of music-loving locals and visitors.

Missoula Symphony musicians offer their festival annual outdoor concert Aug. 14.
Missoula Symphony musicians offer their festive annual outdoor concert Aug. 14.

This year’s concert, “Music for the Soul,” will be filled with sounds of Aretha Franklin, John Williams, Stephen Sondheim and much more. People are encouraged to pack their lawn chairs and blankets, and there will be food vendors and a bar for those who wish to purchase food and/or beverages.

Symphony in the Park is a free concert for all ages to enjoy, though attendants are encouraged to bring canned goods and non-perishable food items which will be collected at the concert and donated directly to the Missoula Food Bank, an organization the Missoula Symphony has partnered with since 2019. The symphony’s goal is to collect at least 2,000 pounds of food during the event. With one in four Missoulians relying on the Food Bank for support, community contributions are more important than ever.

Titled “The Beat of Missoula,” this year’s programming promises “a season filled with music that will stir your soul.” The diverse offerings range from magnificent classics by Mahler and Strauss to works by important female composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Violinist Robert McDuffie joins sister, pianist and University of Montana professor Margery McDuffie Whatley in Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Piano. Their performance is part of the season opener, “Brothers and Sisters,” Sept. 17-18 at the UM Dennison Theatre.

For the first time, the orchestra will perform a piece by its inaugural composer-in-residence, Jonathan Baily of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and head of the music school at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s writing a percussion piece for the electrifying arx duo, who join the orchestra for their March concert, Dynamic Duo.

Other offerings include “Superheroes” in November and the beloved “Holiday Pops” in December; April’s “War and Peace,” showcasing the Missoula Symphony Chorale and guest vocalists; and Black Tie Broadway next May, featuring Montana native Curt Olds, Broadway stars and local talent.

Those wishing to purchase tickets for the remainder of the 2022-20223 season can do so beginning Aug. 14 at missoulasymphony.org.