Portsmouth Symphony changing to a new sound

Brenda Gibson

February 4, 2013

Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will soon become the Portsmouth Wind Symphony.

“Things will not be too much different for the rest of this season. We are transitioning because it’s been difficult to find string players. We’ve really gone everywhere and the consensus of the board, was that beginning on July 4 the emphasis of the music would be on wind instruments,” said, Dr. Carl Daehler PSO director. “Many communities across the country have very successful wind symphonies.”

He said when the Ohio University Band would come to the Vern Riffe Center For the Arts and play, it was so well received and many from the audience commented they would be interested in playing in a group like that, locally.

“So many people learn wind instruments in high school band. So, we started thinking about putting the two together and realized that we had a problem (in finding stringed instrument players) and in that problem we had a unique opportunity to attract a lot of people who may not otherwise join an orchestra,” Daehler said.

He said the details of the transition are still being worked out.

“As far as this season goes, we (PSO) have a concert on April 16 as scheduled and will feature the music of Beethoven and various other classical composers,” Daehler said.

He said the April concert will be the last one for the PSO, with the next scheduled concert on July 4.

“I’ve tried personally for the last eight years to try and get a string program established in Portsmouth. There are some high schools around the region that had string programs but, we can’t expect high schooler’s to drive 40 or 50 miles to play in an orchestra. We have adults that drive from both Ashland and Chillicothe (to play in the PSO). But, they are few in number and we rely a lot on students from the colleges, Ohio University or Marshall to fill in,” Daehler said.

He said with the Portsmouth Wind Symphony there will be an educational component.

“Members of the ensemble will be able to go to schools and do after school concerts or during school concerts. That would be of interest to all 12 high schools because all of them have band programs. This would be an open door to getting a lot of those students interested,” Daehler said.

He said it seems as if Scioto County has had a tradition of wind music.

Daehler said with the Portsmouth Wind Symphony there will be a new sound.

“The typical wind ensemble is a combination of some old favorite music, like we’ve done before. There are some original pieces for a wind ensemble by a lot of classical composers as well as a wealth of new music,” Daehler said. “I think in some way a wind ensemble concert has more variety of classical, modern and pop than an orchestra concert does.”

He said the board of directors are all looking forward to making the Portsmouth Wind Symphony a success.

“We will be holding auditions for new members prior to the July 4th concert. That will be the first concert of the Portsmouth Wind Symphony. We will continue to do three or four concerts a year as well as all of the educational activities,” Daehler said.

For more information and continuous updates visit or call Daehler at 740-351-3088.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or