The Ozark Festival Orchestra (OFO) will conclude its 32nd season with its Pops in the Park benefit concert on Sunday, May 20, at the Monett City Park Casino, located at Highways 37 and 60 in Monett.
This will be a special farewell performance for the Monett City Park Casino, a popular gathering place since 1926. The casino will be torn down in August and rebuilt.
"The OFO had some of its first concerts in Monett's City Park Casino in 1980," said music director Ken Meisinger. "The building's wood floors and paneling always made the orchestra sound special. We're pleased to give one more concert in this grand old building and feature the kind of music that people gathered in it to hear over the years."
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. The music will begin at approximately 2:15 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
The concert price will cover homemade pie from orchestra members and ice cream. Beverages will be available.
Meisinger has planned a concert running the gamut of music over the casino's history. Dance music will feature a medley of works from Duke Ellington and his orchestra, with such favorites as "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Sophisticated Lady" and "Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." A medley of American folk songs, arranged by Clare Grundman, will bring back the flavor of music common in rural communities.
The concert will continue with march music, including the "Colonel Bogey March" from "Bridge over the River Kwai" and Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." A medley of music from the Beatles, Genaro Codine's "Zacatecas March," recalling Latin music that has come to Monett with the influx of the Hispanic community in the past 20 years, and patriotic numbers will round out the concert.
A silent auction of items for art lovers will be included as part of the concert. Special music-themed chairs, books, recordings and food gift baskets from Trader Joe's will be available.
Proceeds from the concert will help the orchestra pay expenses for the year.
The OFO plays five concerts a year in Monett. Players come from across southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. The orchestra is supported by memberships, donations, support from local foundations, program book advertising and funds managed by the Monett Community Foundation.