This year’s Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Concerts in the Garden series is going to rock ’n’ roll.
The 2017 lineup, announced Monday, includes rock tributes, symphonic renderings of video game music and a rising Fort Worth country singer now making his mark in Nashville. There are also many of the old standbys that have helped the summer concert festival, which is celebrating its 27th season, fill the Fort Worth Botanic Garden with music, people and fireworks on a regular basis.
Of the 14 themed concerts offered this season (totaling 17 performances), seven are tributes to rock stars or bands of the past. They include returning favorites the Classical Mystery Tour (Beatles), tribute bands performing the music of Journey, Pink Floyd, ABBA and Led Zeppelin as well as noted Elvis tribute artist Kraig Parker.
The new concert of that ilk is one that was canceled during last year’s symphony strike, “The Music of David Bowie” (June 23). The tribute concert, which salutes the rock legend who died in January 2016, originally was scheduled to be presented by the symphony at Bass Hall last fall. It is one of the four concerts in this summer’s series to be conducted by guest maestro Martin Herman.
One of the most unusual concerts promises to be “RePlay: Symphony of Heroes” (June 17) which draws its material from a variety of video games, including “Final Fantasy,” “Mass Effect,” “Kingdom Hearts,” “Halo” and “Castlevania.” The concert will be conducted by Kelly Corcoran, who was on the podium for the symphony’s sold-out presentation of music from “The Legend of Zelda” video games at Bass Hall earlier this year, and includes narration by Nigel Carrington.
The four concerts opening the season will be presented without the orchestra, which will be participating in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at the same time. Season openers are the New Orleans-inspired sounds of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (June 2), country singer JT Hodges (June 3), the King-channeling Parker (June 9) and ABBACADABRA: The Ultimate ABBA Tribute (June 10) paying homage to Sweden’s most famous pop music act.
Hodges, an Arlington Heights and TCU graduate from Fort Worth, is the only one of that group making his first appearance on this series. The singer-songwriter lives and works in Nashville, where he has recorded an album and seen some of his songs make the charts.
“We were attracted to him because of his local status and the sound of his music,” FWSO spokesperson Jeremy Reynolds said. “We thought he’d be a good fit.”
Another type of country music will be heard when beloved Western swing masters and nine-time Grammy winners Asleep at the Wheel return to the garden to perform with the orchestra (June 30).
As has been the case for several years now, traditional classical music will be offered on only one of the series’ concerts, “1812 Overture and Symphonic Sparklers” (June 18). The centerpiece of that performance is Tchaikovsky’s famous, cannon-accented overture. But fireworks stand in for the artillery in the garden performances.
The season will close with multiple performances of two concerts that have become classics of the series, the flag-waving “Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic” (July 2-4), which celebrates the July 4th holiday, and the enormously popular “Star Wars and Beyond: A Laser Light Spectacular” (July 7-8), which offers music from numerous sci-fi and fantasy films while neon-hued laser lights slice through the Botanic Garden.
“That one almost always sells out,” Reynolds said.
Tickets prices have changed slightly, with top table seats $67 at the gate (up from $60 last summer); lawn tickets remain $22 in advance and $25 at the gate, and children ages 10 and younger are free.
All concerts begin at 8:15 p.m. And, as always, a grand fireworks display will close every performance. Tickets will be available to FWSO subscribers beginning March 20, and to the general public April 10.
For more information and tickets, visit www.fwsymphony.org or call 817-665-6000.
2017 Concerts in the Garden lineup
June 2: Preservation Hall Jazz Band
June 3: JT Hodges
June 9: A Tribute to Elvis with Kraig Parker
June 10: ABBACADABRA: The Ultimate ABBA Tribute
June 16: The Music of Pink Floyd (Martin Herman, conductor)
June 17: RePlay: Symphony of Heroes (Kelly Corcoran, conductor; Nigel Carrington, narrator)
June 18: 1812 Overture and Symphonic Sparklers (Ron Spigelman, conductor)
June 23: The Music of David Bowie (Martin Herman, conductor)
June 24: The Music of Journey (Martin Herman, conductor; Juan Del Castillo, lead vocals)
June 25: Classical Mystery Tour (Martin Herman, conductor)
June 30: Asleep at the Wheel (Ron Spigelman, conductor)
July 1: The Music of Led Zeppelin (Brent Havens, conductor)
July 2-4: Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor)
July 7-8: Star Wars and Beyond: A Laser Light Spectacular (Daniel Black, conductor)
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden
- 8:15 p.m.
- $16-$67 (Children under 10 admitted free to lawn area)
- 817-665-6000; www.fwsymphony.org