Wheeling Symphony returns to Weirton

WEIRTON – The Weirton community had some help celebrating the red, white and blue Friday with a performance by the Wheeling Symphony.

Making its return to Weirton for the 22nd year, the symphony, under the direction of Maestro Andre Raphel, performed a variety of patriotic music and other selections for the crowd gathered at the Weirton Event Center.

“We are very happy to be back here in Weirton with you,” Wheeling Symphony Executive Director Bruce Wheeler said to the more than 1,500 people in attendance before helping to kick off the concert.

Andre Raphel echoed those sentiments while explaining some of the program.

“We have fabulous music for you tonight celebrating America,” he said.

Among those were some traditional and modern patriotic tunes, including an arrangement of “God Bless the USA,” “American Salute,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Other selections celebrated the jazz and big band sounds made famous in America during the 20th Century, including “Satchmo! (A Salute to Louis Armstrong),” and “A Salute to the Big Bands.”

Special guest for the concert was Chris Tedesco, a world-renowned trumpet player who joined in on several songs.

Tedesco has been considered one of the top call trumpet players in Los Angeles since 1987. His music has been heard on numerous recordings for movies, television, on CDs and live performances.

“I’ve been able to do some things in television and in movies,” Tedesco said of his 26 years living in Los Angeles.

Tedesco noted several of the songs performed Friday have been heard in motion pictures or on television programs, including “Superman March,” arranged by John Williams, and “Soul Bossa Nova,” which originally was performed by Quincy Jones but made famous more recently by the “Austin Powers” movies.

Some of Tedesco’s recent credits include the Christina Aguilera movie “Burlesque,” the “Green Lantern” cartoon series, Disneyland’s Main Street Music with Dean Mora, and iTunes download sessions for “American Idol.”

Tedesco is the leader of the Angel City Horns, which have recorded songs for Christina Aguilera and the Pussy Cat Dolls.

His university training includes one year at the State University of New York at Fredonia under William Dederer and four years at the University of Miami in Florida under Gil Johnson. It was while attending the University of Miami, he noted, that he first met Andre Raphel.

The event was sponsored by the Weirton Area Community Foundation, the City of Weirton, Tri-State Medical Group and WTOV-TV.

Other support for the concert was provided by Starvaggi Charities; Weirton Geriatric Center/Serra Foundation; First Choice America Credit Union; Hancock County Bar Association; Grae-Con Construction; Linda A. Heilman; Steel and Wolfe Funeral Home; Leonard Pensis; Steve and Mary Kladakis; James White Construction; Ray Greco; Blakemore Insurance Agency; Mario’s Restaurant; Wine and Beverage Merchants; Charnie Insurance; Victor Greco; Weirton Eye Clinic; Glenda Mobley Robinson; Gurdev Purewal; Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home; Suzanne Kuhns; Ronald C. Ard; Gus’s Goodies; Juginder K. Luthra; Penn-Way Pharmacy; Dee Jay’s Restaurant; Manuel’s Dry Cleaning; People’s Choice Cafe; Arden and Nancy Ford; Edwin J. Bowman and Jack Fowler.

Friday’s concert was followed by a fireworks display set off behind Municipal Plaza.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)