Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Symphony offer Valentine’s Day concerts February 10-13

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Some couples choose to spend a cozy night at home; others opt for a date (or a drink) at a favorite restaurant.

For couples – or anyone else – with a taste for good music, two of Greater Columbus’ leading performing arts groups will be performing concerts this weekend.

From February 10 to 13, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra will be joined by two guest singers, Carly Thomas Smith and David Pruynfor “Valentine Romance” at the Southern Theatre, while on February 12, the Columbus Symphony will team up with guest singer Michael Cavanaugh for “Music of the Great Singer Songwriters” at the Palace Theatre.

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Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are required for both programs.

The bands aim to provide the perfect musical accompaniment to the most romantic of weekends.

CJO and Carly Thomas Smith with David Pruyn

Several years ago, when Los Angeles singer Carly Thomas Smith performed a Christmas program with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, she wore a red dress for the occasion.

According to Smith, this wardrobe choice might have given her a head start when Byron Stripling, artistic director of the CJO booked guest artists for the orchestra’s Valentine’s Day concerts, “Valentine Romance”.

“I don’t know if it’s because I always wear red that Byron thought of me!” said Smith.

Of course, having a stellar voice didn’t hurt either.

“She’s such a versatile performer,” Stripling said. “She will go and sing jazz, then she will sing pop. She is truly spectacular.

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For this weekend’s concerts, Smith will sing tunes popularized by Natalie Cole and Carmen McRae. “We’ll do things you might expect (and) things you might not,” she said.

Smith will share the stage with the guest singer David Pruyn, a New Orleans native with an inordinate appreciation for Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra. Pruyn’s solo portion of the program will feature songs made famous by these two legends.

“I kind of live in the annals of the Great American Songbook and the period that fostered it,” said Pruyn, who resides in Venice, Florida.

Smith and Pruyn will also sing a few duets; although they have never worked together before, the two expect there to be a lot of chemistry on stage.

“When we get together for rehearsal, we’ll just change that phrasing and you’ll feel each other,” Smith said.

Pruyn enjoys performing for couples who choose to incorporate the concert into their Valentine’s Day weekend.

“It puts a bit more sparkle there,” Pruyn said.

But, added Stripling, the show is for everyone — not just those with a romantic spirit.

“For me, Valentine’s Day goes beyond two lovers,” he said. “It’s our love for everyone, and I think we have a chance to exemplify that through music.”

In one look

The Columbus Jazz Orchestra with Carly Thomas Smith and David Pruyn will perform at 7:30 p.m. on February 10; 8 p.m. Feb. 11-12; 3 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Southern Theater, 21 E. Main St. Tickets start at $10. Contact: www.jazzartsgroup.org

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra with Michael Cavanaugh

A veteran of the Billy Joel-inspired Broadway hit “To move out”, Singer Michael Cavanaugh has teamed up with the Columbus Symphony twice before: first, a program focusing on Joel’s songs, then a show focusing on the music of Elton John.

On February 12, the Cleveland native will sample a wider range of singer-songwriters in “Music of the Great Singer Songwriters.”

Tunes written and performed for the first time by Neil Diamond, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and James Taylor will be among those performed by Cavanaugh, who will travel to Columbus with his own band.

The singer and musicians will be supported by the Columbus Symphony under the direction of Associate Chef Andres Lopera.

“There will also be a touch of Billy Joel and a touch of Elton John,” said Cavanaugh, a 49-year-old Las Vegas resident.

Many songs will have a Valentine’s Day vibe, including Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” at Diamond “My dear Caroline.”

Cavanaugh admires many musicians, but he holds in high esteem the singers who also compose; Cavanaugh himself will perform several songs he wrote.

“You take something and create it completely yourself from scratch, out of nothing, and then turn it into something that changes people’s lives,” he said. “There are so many great singers who weren’t songwriters, … but my favorite artists have always been the ones who write the songs.”

Couples coming to the show might just hear a song they know and reminisce about a moment from their own shared past.

“If you’re in a relationship and celebrating being together for a while, I think there’s a good chance you’ll hear music that will take you back to when it all started,” said Cavanaugh. .

“Music helps relationships start. I really believe it.

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In one look

Michael Cavanaugh will perform with the Columbus Symphony at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. Tickets: from $25. Information: www.columbussymphony.com



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Henry R. Wright