Perrysburg's 577 Foundation was a gift from Virginia Stranahan to the historic Wood County city and its surrounding area.
So it seems particularly appropriate that the Toledo Symphony's new outdoor concert series, titled Simple Gifts, will launch at 2 p.m. June 23 on the 12-acre park on East Front Street, which is so closely linked with the arts and nature.
It will be the first of six concerts planned for 2013 and 2014, the result of a joint effort by the Toledo Symphony and the Black Swamp Conservancy.
Their grant proposal funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, brings federal money to this region for innovative performances presented in significant outdoor settings.
"The inspiration for this project is capturing the sound of our Midwestern home," says symphony president and CEO Kathleen Carroll.
Not only will the series remind audiences of the region's natural beauty, the programs will celebrate the varied landscapes of Northwest Ohio with original commissioned music.
"Connecting people to the landscape is an essential part of our work," said Tom Reed, president of the Conservancy board.
Both groups are celebrating milestones: for the symphony, the 2013-2014 season is its 70th anniversary and the Conservancy is marking its 20th year.
Works to be performed include pieces by contemporary composers who studied at Bowling Green State University's College of Musical Arts — Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Higdon, Evan Chambers, and Jay Ungar — as well as by Anton Dvorak, whose 19th century musical evocation of America inspired generations of composers.
University of Michigan composer and professor Evan Chambers, whose music sometimes takes inspiration from graveyards, rivers, and the wind, is preparing a new work to be premiered Sept. 8, 2014, at Goll Homestead, a park near Archbold where some of Ohio's original woodlands have been preserved.
"I have been very interested in finding ways to build working relationships between classical music and environmental institutions," Chambers said.
The full concert schedule is: 577 Foundation, 2 p.m. June 23; Sept. 8 with location to be announced; March 2, 2014, Sisters of St. Francis, Tiffin; May 2014, date to be announced, Peninsular Farms, Fremont; Sept. 8 at Goll Homestead, and 7 p.m. Sept. 14, 2014, Toledo Club (the symphony's Blade Chamber Series).
Five of the six concerts will be free, but tickets will be required. For more information and to reserve tickets, contact the Toledo Symphony, 419-246-8000 or toledosymphony.com.
Contact Sally Vallongo at firstname.lastname@example.org.