Athens Symphony Picnic at the Pops Concert returns this weekend

Press release from the Athens Symphony

Will be the last concert of retiring lead conductor, Susan Dinwiddie, of Monroe

Retiring lead conductor of the Athens Symphony Susan Dinwiddie, of Monroe. Contributed photo

(ATHENS, Ga.) – The Athens Symphony will host its annual Picnic at the Pops concert series after a two-year break on Friday, April 29, and Saturday April 30 at 8:00 p.m. The concert, to be performed at The Classic Center, will honor the retirement of longtime conductor Susan Dinwiddie (of Monroe, Ga) and feature some of her favorite pieces.

The concert program spotlights classic showtunes including selections from West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, Les Misérables and more. The Grand Hall at The Classic Center will be transformed with a stage and tables as groups of friends and families gather to enjoy the Symphony’s final concert of the season. The performance will feature the Athens Symphony Chorus for the first time in more than two years.

After 42 years of service to the Symphony in various roles, this concert series will be Conductor Susan Dinwiddie’s final performance, though she plans to continue engaging with the Symphony in other ways.

“I was given an amazing opportunity to conduct when our founder Al Ligotti accepted me as his assistant conductor. Now, this will be my final concert performing with the Athens Symphony. It has been an amazing 42 years, with the last 10 years as conductor, said Dinwiddie. I will be passing my baton to Brad Maffett who is presently my associate conductor. The Symphony will continue in very capable hands. Although retired, I will be supporting the Symphony and attending concerts performed by this jewel of Athens.”

Concert attendees are encouraged to pack a picnic dinner to enjoy before the concert and take a stroll down memory lane as we revisit these classics. The performance takes on a relaxed atmosphere to encourage families and students as well as Athens locals and visitors to come together in celebration of the Athens arts community.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking, and the concert begins at 8:00 p.m. each night. Tickets are complimentary per the mission of the Athens Symphony but are required for entry. They can be acquired free of charge through the Classic Center website at this link. 

Retiring lead conductor of the Athens Symphony Susan Dinwiddie, of Monroe. Contributed photo

About the Athens Symphony

The Athens Symphony was founded in the summer of 1978 by Albert Ligotti when he was asked following a survey by the Clarke County Office of Cultural Affairs that determined a strong desire within the community for a symphony orchestra. Early on, it was decided that the symphony should be a non-profit organization, that its members would be passionate volunteers from Athens and the surrounding communities, and that its concerts should be both free of charge and appealing to general audiences.

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