A Celtic music group from Columbia County will perform as the opening act at the Augusta Symphony's fourth annual Pops! Under the Stars.
"Since it's in Columbia County, we want to feature Columbia County artists as much as we can," said Sandra Self, the symphony's executive director.
The free outdoor concert is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the University Health Care System's Evans Campus on North Belair Road with the performance of Solstice. The symphony performs at 7:30 p.m.
Lillie Morris, Michael Hay and Norton Wade make up Solstice and will play a combination of Irish reels, jigs and traditional ballads.
Morris is an artist who owns Broadstrokes Gallery in Evans.
"It's just my genre of music that I enjoy," Morris said about Celtic music, "and I'm always happy to have opportunities to play."
James Ackley, a trumpeter with the Augusta Symphony, is the featured soloist at this year's concert and will perform with the orchestra.
Conductor Donald Portnoy will direct the final concert of the symphony's season.
The orchestra will perform several pieces, including selections from The Lord of The Dance, Annie, Georgia on My Mind and American Salute .
"It's the perfect setting," Portnoy said. "The staging that they set up and the audio that they set up is first class, and so it's perfect for presenting the music that we're playing."
Self said the orchestra always ends with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture .
The Pops concert next year will be Portnoy's last, Self said. Portnoy, who has been the music director with the symphony for 17 years, is retiring at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Self encourages people to bring chairs and blankets to sit on the lawn.
"It's a family affair and it's a wonderful thing to see," she said.
Self said it rained before last year's concert, but approximately 2,500 people turned up to watch the concert.
"Just the ambiance of being outside is kind of fun," Portnoy said. "As long as the weather cooperates, we're in business."
If it rains, the concert will be moved to West Acres Baptist Church on Gibbs Road, Self said
The concert, sponsored by University Health Care, is expected to last until 10 p.m., Self said.
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