If Reece King hopes for one silver lining from the pandemic, it’s that Paducah Symphony Orchestra has never been more ready for community impact.

On Thursday, the organization announced its 2022-23 season lineup and desire for more impact than in years past.

“Twenty-five months ago, we stood in this room, and that was the day the world shut down pretty much,” King, PSO executive director, told audience members in the Luther F. Carson Center Myre River Room.

“We were the last event at the center for several months … but we’ve positioned ourselves to have more impact than ever. We are poised and ready.”

PSO maestro Raffaele Livio Ponti outlined a multicultural smorgasboard of musical talent from September 17, 2022, through April 15, 2023.

In November, Tilghman High School graduate Blake Denson will visit to perform. A Paducah native, Denson now lives in Houston, Texas and has sung baritone with the Houston Grand Opera.

One of the first works featured is Sheherazade, with violin woven through bars inspired by One Thousand and One Nights. In the well-known Middle Eastern folktale collection, a doomed vizier’s daughter regales her male tormenter with ongoing stories to avoid her death, among other unwanted fates.

Other featured pieces include Spiral, a classical piece written by The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, regarded as so captivating that Beethoven would play it during live performances like a 19th century Freebird. Attendees will hear works by American composer Jennifer Higdon, whose Violin Concerto earned a 2010 Pulitzer Prize.

King said while ticket sales are down, $563,000 has been pledged in a $600,000 campaign to open the PSO Academy in the former Walter C. Jetton school building, now named The Dunlap.

With many communities recovering from COVID-related fallout, he added that PSO’s economic and soon-to-be expanded educational impact couldn’t be understated.

“PSO makes Paducah feel like a larger city,” he said.

“(During the pandemic), we went into survival mode. We canceled, watched expenses, tried to adapt and stayed engaged. Few things were affected as dramatically as the arts, but we never felt like we were alone and have had some generous people step up.”

Visit PaducahSymphony.org for tickets and information.

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