SAVANNAH Philharmonic’s Picnic in the Park, an annual concert that brings the community together through music and fun. The free all-day event, taking place at Forsyth Park on Sun., Oct. 6, has been a staple in the community for many years.
The Philharmonic describes the event as “a true collaboration with the City of Savannah, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, local colleges, and several corporate and community partners.” This year is particularly special, with the involvement of guest conductor Gene Chang and soprano Emily Yocum Black.
“The theme is ‘Color Your World With Music,’” Executive Director Terri O’Neil tells Connect. “People can expect a lineup of community performances starting at 3. The orchestra comes onstage at 7, and of course we’ll have the 3rd ID salute—which are the cannons that will accompany the 1812 overture finale.”
Performers at this year’s concert also include the Savannah Arts Academy Orchestra as well as students from Savannah High School and the Esther F. Garrison School for the Arts’ Garrison Voices chorus.
Emily Yocum Black comes to Picnic in the Park on the heels of her American Traditions Vocal Competition win this year, and it’s an exciting addition for O’Neil and the team at Philharmonic.
“She’s fabulous,” O’Neil says of Black.
Chang, the guest conductor for this year’s Picnic in the Park, was personally recommended by Keitaro Harada, the Philharmonic’s incoming Music & Artistic Director—who’ll be bookending the season this year before being fully integrated into his new position next season.
“Gene is the former Associate Conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony,” O’Neil says.
“He was hand chosen by Keitaro. They’re former colleagues and friends, and Gene is a very accomplished conductor with extensive skills in performing pop music scores and classical. He’s got a very good stage presence, so he’ll suit the Savannah audience very well.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs, and set up picnics for their families to get the full Picnic in the Park experience. Food vendors slated to participate in this year’s event include Chazito’s, Leopold’s Ice Cream, Bowtie Barbecue, Krazian, Service Brewing Co., Ben & Jerry’s, Gigi’s, Coca Cola Savannah, Dark Shark, Latin Chicks, and more.