Ag and the Arts Celebration Nov. 19-20

November 14, 2005

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- A lifetime of work and family on the farm is culminating into a weekend of music and art in celebration of a true American heritage: agriculture.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is combining themes of farming practices, rural living, and the beauty of the land with hundreds of images of Clark County, Ohio farmers in a production of "Our Fields, Farms, and Families." The concert will be held at 8 p.m. Nov. 19 and at 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at Kuss Auditorium in Springfield, Ohio. Single ticket prices range from $27-$46, with student discounts ranging from $15-$25. For more information on the concert or to order tickets, log onto The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Web site at http://springfieldsym.org.

The concert is part of an "Agriculture and the Arts" project being spearheaded by Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is funded by a $104,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. As part of the overall project, the college and its partners are producing a DVD with narration and photos, telling the stories of several area farm families. The DVD will be available in January 2006. For more information on Agriculture and the Arts, log on to http://agarts.ag.ohio-state.edu.

"Why do communities value agriculture? Why do farmers choose it as a way of life? That's what's important," said Dennis Hall, coordinator of the project and special assistant to the dean of the college. He hopes the project depicts the answers to these questions.

"Even with all of the risks and uncertainties, farmers still choose this lifestyle because of the returns that go beyond the economic," he said. "It's the beauty, the satisfaction. I hope the farmers who participated in this project are able to see the importance of what they do in a new light -- to see the beauty around them anew."

For over a year, Clark County, Ohio, farm families and their lifestyles have been photographed. Images ranging from on-farm tasks of feeding livestock and planting and harvesting crops to rural living from the eyes of generations of family members will be projected on three large screens suspended above the orchestra during the concert, led by noted photochoreographer James Westwater. Featured music will include pieces from Aaron Copeland, Steven Heitzeg and Virgil Thomson.

"It's a great opportunity to bring the community together," said David Deitrick, the symphony's executive director. "We haven't really tried anything like this before. It's an unusual marriage to bring the arts community, which is very strong in Clark County, together with the agricultural community, which is also very strong in Clark County. Most people wouldn't see a natural relationship there, but it's a great way to highlight farms and the people who work on them, and bring people into the symphony who might not otherwise attend."

For more information on Agriculture and the Arts concert and other projects, contact Dennis Hall at (614) 292-4188 or hall.16@osu.edu.

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Author(s): 
Candace Pollock
Source(s): 
Denny Hall