Ashland Symphony Orchestra holds Star Wars themed concert


The Ashland Symphony Orchestra performed its first concert this year on Jan. 26 at the Archer Auditorium of Ashland High School, titled “The Music of Star Wars.”

John Williams compositions from almost every mainline Star Wars movie were played, from the original “A New Hope” to the first inclusion of the most recent trilogy, “The Force Awakens.”

“They’re mostly a classical orchestra that does Beethoven and Mozart,” said the Secretary Symphony Board of Directors and AU Professor of Music Rowland Blackley. “This is was one of their ‘pops’ concerts which are intended to attract young kids, families, and fans.”

Kassandra Lee and Matthew Roberts of the Neos Dance Theatre were also shown at the concert. Midway through, they performed a dance to the orchestra’s “Cantina Band theme.”

Ashland University Junior Jacob Nestle attended the concert and weighed in on the experience.

“I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun and I’m a huge Star Wars fan so there was a lot of nostalgia. Any Star Wars fan would’ve enjoyed that,” he said.

Concertgoers were encouraged to wear Star Wars costumes, many showing up in stormtrooper suits and others with lightsabers. Some of the musicians also wore costumes, including a cello player dressed up as a “Tusken Raider.”

“The current conductor, Maestro Arie Lipsky, has been with us for 25 years. He’s built the orchestra up to what it is now,” said Blackley. “There are some people in the community who play, but a lot of people drive in from Akron, Cleveland, Medina, and even some from Columbus to play with us.”

The Ashland Symphony Orchestra holds many concerts throughout the year, some of which are free to the public.

“I’ve seen the orchestra twice and I’m probably gonna come to as many concerts as I’m able to,” said Nestle. “Take every opportunity you can to see the orchestra … it’s a lot of fun and a really good experience.”

To view the Ashland Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-2019 concert schedule, visit