Auld Lang Syne!

DPAA presents New Year’s Eve Around the World

 By Zach Rogers

Photo: Concertmaster Jessica Hung [front, standing] joins the Dayton Philharmonic for the New Year’s Eve concert;  photo: Andy Snow

The holiday season has snuck up on us once again, and as one year fades into another, many mark this special occasion by going out with a bang. New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, whether it’s with friends, family, at a bar or in Times Square. No matter what your plans may be, it’s always a time for traditions, and the annual New Year’s Eve concert has been a tradition for downtown Dayton for many years.

Once a Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra production, the annual New Year’s Eve concert has now grown into a holiday celebration presented by the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. This year, the DPAA is proud to present New Year’s Eve Around the World on Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 8-10 p.m. in the Mead Theatre at the Schuster Center. The holiday concert brings together all three organizations of the DPAA (Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic) for one spectacular night of holiday entertainment.

“The concert is perfect because it gives everyone an opportunity to celebrate with other arts lovers,” said Chuck Duritsch, communications and media manager for the DPAA. “By adding performances featuring the Dayton Ballet and the Dayton Opera to the existing Dayton Philharmonic format, it’s turned into a wonderful celebration of vocals, dance and music.”

New Year’s Eve Around the World is part of the DPAA’s 2013-2014 Signature Season, which features three productions.

“We call it the ‘Signature Season’ because this is the first year our artistic team was able to blend together three Signature Events under the new organization,” Duritsch said.

The first production was the aptly titled Season Opening Spectacular, followed by the upcoming New Year’s Eve concert and concluding with the opera Aida in May.

This year, New Year’s Eve Around the World will take you on a globetrotting adventure full of music and dance from countries all across the world. Under the helm of Dayton Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, the holiday concert features musicians from the Dayton Philharmonic, along with dancers Case Bodamer, Brian Grant, Marcia Hetrick and Halliet Slack from the Dayton Ballet and vocalist Michael Sumuel from the Dayton Opera. The New Year’s Eve tradition of Concertmaster Jessica Hung playing a signature violin piece continues with her rendition of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Havanaise,” along with Philharmonic violinist Dona Nouné-Wiedmann performing John Williams’ interpretation of Gardel’s “Tango (Por Una Cabeza).” From the Opera, Sumuel will knock out audiences with his take on a few numbers, including Rodgers’ “Some Enchanted Evening” and Rachmaninoff’s “Cavatina.” The four dancers from the Ballet will perform choreography by Paul Gilliam to Strauss II’s “Bitte Schön,” and another Strauss number, “On the Beautiful Blue Danube,” is at the center of this year’s event.

“I personally enjoy the variety of entertainment at the New Year’s Eve concert,” Duritsch said. “It’s a great way to sample all the arts of the DPAA.”

The DPAA took over the event after forming in 2012, and last year they presented the concert with the theme Viennafest. Now, in its second year of organizing the production, the DPAA is committed to bring people all the things they love about the DPO holiday concert, but with even more arts and entertainment. Ultimately, the goal was not to change, but to add to the already existing event.

“It’s a holiday tradition that has continued to grow since the merger,” said Duritsch. “Last season’s Viennafest was the first in the newly expanded format, and attendees can expect the same variety of productions this year with a more global repertory of music and dance.”

Planning of the concert is handled by the DPAA’s three artistic directors – Karen Russo Burke from the Ballet, Thomas Bankston from the Opera and Neal Gittleman from the Philharmonic. Together, they decide on everything that’s seen and heard at the concert, from what songs are performed to who will be the ones performing them. It may sound like a difficult task, but with these three behind the wheel, nothing is too challenging for the organization.

“Our artistic directors choose all the titles and content of all the DPAA productions,” Duritsch explained. “We’re very fortunate to have three extremely knowledgeable directors to carefully plan out each performance.”

As always, the concert will also include pre-show food-by-the-bites in the Wintergarden, complimentary champagne for ticketholders at intermission and a balloon drop to end the night’s festivities. With a comfortable timeslot, the concert is perfect for those who either want to go to bed early or head out into the night afterwards.

Whatever you decide, the DPAA’s New Year’s Eve Around the World holiday concert is an great way to usher in the new year, and it’s just the thing to get you in the spirit before the ball drops.

The 2013-2014 DPAA “New Year’s Eve Around the World” concert will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 8–10 p.m. in the Mead Theatre at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. Tickets range from $8 to $65 and are available by phone or online through Ticket Center Stage. For more information, visit 

 Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at


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