Under the Elms

The kettle drum isn't the most often-played instrument, but when it's played it makes its presence known. A file photo from the 2017 version of this event.

The Under the Elms Summer Concert Series is presenting five free concerts this summer, beginning Wednesday, June 5, and continuing each consecutive week until Wednesday, July 3.

Each of these outdoor concerts begin at 7 p.m. on Ohio University’s College Green adjacent to Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

The Under the Elms Concert Band, or “Communiversity Band,” is composed of OU faculty, students and alumni, as well as community members from Athens and surrounding communities. The ensemble rehearses one night a week prior to each performance. The music director and principal conductor of Under the Elms is OU Director of Bands Andrew Trachsel. 

This summer will mark Trachsel’s 11th year heading up the Under the Elms series. This will also be his last season in this position, as he has been appointed the next associate director of Wind Studies at the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton, Texas. 

Regarding this change, Trachsel wrote in a news release, “I earned both of my graduate degrees in conducting at UNT, and I will have the opportunity to return there to teach side-by-side with my mentor. While I am excited about what the future has in store, my family and I will certainly miss Ohio University, the Athens community, and this special summer tradition.

“Just as this series existed long before I arrived,” he continued, “it will last long after I am gone, because of the university and community’s commitment to this special tradition. I am glad that we will get to spend one last summer Under the Elms with you all before making the move to Texas.”

This year’s series features several special events and guests, including William Talley, the newly appointed interim director of Bands at OU; David Turrill, director of bands at Muskingum University and an OU alum; the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds on a shared concert; a celebration of the Athens Community Music School’s 40th anniversary; the participants of the Summer Band Camp; and much more.

All of these events, supported by OU and its College of Fine Arts, are open to all and free to the public. In the event of rain, concerts will be held in Memorial Auditorium. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics to the concerts


Under the Elms Schedule


Wednesday, June  5

“Favorites.” Featuring several audience and musician favorites, this concert will also highlight a trio of anniversaries that occur in the summer of 2019: Ohio composer Lisa Galvin’s “Blaze the Trail” is programmed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Senate voting to pass the 19th Amendment on June 4, 1919; John Williams’s “Hymn to the Fallen” from the movie “Saving Private Ryan” recognizes the 75th anniversary of the Allied Forces D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944; and on a lighter note, “Abbey Road: A Symphonic Portrait” marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ landmark final studio recording.


Wednesday, June 12

“Raise the Curtain: Music from Stage and Screen.” This concert will continue an audience-favorite theme of presenting music from movies and theater. Included will be music by Leonard Bernstein, Alan Silvestri, John Philip Sousa, Richard Wagner, John Williams and Meredith Willson. Listen for music from “The Avengers,” James Bond films, “Star Wars,” “West Side Story” and much more.


Wednesday, June 19

“Collaboration Concert with Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds.” The Communiversity Band will share this concert with the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds, a community band conducted by David Turrill, director of bands at Muskingum University. Also featured on this concert will be William Talley, who is the newly appointed interim director of bands at OU beginning this fall.


Wednesday, June 26

“Children’s Concert.” To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Athens Community Music School, the Communiversity Band will present a concert featuring child-friendly favorites, including music from the Harry Potter films, “Yellow Submarine,” “Moana” and “The Lion King.” The Athens Community Music School also will offer special events surrounding this concert, including an instrument petting zoo. The participants of the annual Summer Band Camp will also perform as part of the Communiversity Band.

Wednesday, July 3

“Celebrate America!” In recognition of Independence Day, this annual highlight features patriotic favorites.

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