Donald Portnoy will wave his baton for the final time in Columbia County as maestro of the Augusta Symphony during a performance Saturday in Evans.
After 18 years, Portnoy will conduct the symphony at the fifth annual Pops Under the Stars.
Portnoy said he looks forward to conducting the free concert at University Health Care System's Evans campus, 447 N. Belair Road.
"They're fun concerts to do," he said. "It's a concert that has lots of popular pieces, Broadway pieces, familiar pieces.
"It makes for an exciting evening for everyone. We enjoy playing. They enjoy listening."
The Greenbrier High School band will perform before the symphony takes the stage at 7:30 p.m.
"We're very excited about that," said Augusta Symphony Executive Director Sandra Self. "We always like to present area talent, and we have a lot of it."
About 70 musicians with the orchestra will perform more than a dozen pieces, including Francis Scott Key's The Star-Spangled Banner , Bob Lowden's Armed Forces Salute , Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Richard Hayman's Pops Hoedown, and John Williams' Star Wars: Across the Stars , in addition to selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera and Cats.
Last year's concert brought a crowd of about 2,000, Self said. Rainy weather might have kept some people away, she said.
In case of rain this weekend, the concert will be moved to West Acres Baptist Church at 555 Gibbs Road in Evans.
"I think that people love to see a concert outdoors," Self said. "I just hope the sun shines and the rain doesn't come."
Parking is free on the campus and surrounding areas. Golf cars, provided by Club Car, will shuttle guests to and from the concert area, Self said.
Guests are urged to bring chairs and blankets. Food and beverages will be available.
Self said there will be a presentation honoring Portnoy during the concert.
"It's been a wonderful relationship," she said. "We'll have a presentation of his participation and having built the orchestra to where it is today."
Though Portnoy will retire from the symphony, he said he plans to keep "very busy" with teaching at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and conducting orchestras nationally and internationally.
"I enjoy working with the orchestra," he said. "It's just time to do something else."
For information about the concert, visit www.augustasymphony.org, or call (706) 826-4705.
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