The Butler Philharmonic led by Paul John Stanberry, has agreed to perform a concert in Middletown on the banks of the Great Miami Riverway.
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

A unique concert along the Great Miami River could be part of a new series

MetroParks of Butler County has partnered with the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) to put on a concert in celebration of the new River Center located next to AK Pavilion and Bicentennial Commons on the banks of the Great Miami Riverway in Middletown.

According to Kelly Barclay of MetroParks, the concert will launch “a renewed utilization of the long-neglected performance facility (AK Pavilion) and Bicentennial Commons with an eye toward an ever increasing series of public performances for the betterment of the citizens of Middletown into the future.”

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Paul John Stanbery, music directory for the BPO, said the partnership is crucial to help grow the interest in the area by using the arts.

“We are both agencies concerned with the quality of life for the entire county, not just one suburb or town,” he said. “As such, we claim a common mantle of ‘happiness insurance.’ We give people reasons to live here, and to move here as well, by providing some of those life issues that distinguish one community from another.”

“Shall We Gather At the River” is the name of this concert, which will be performed at noon on Aug. 25, and it is also the title of an old American hymn.

“This concert will be a celebration of the urban renewal taking place in Middletown as exemplified by the River Center, as well as the revitalized use, care and programming of the AK Pavilion and Bicentennial Commons, which are adjacent to the River Center,” Stanbery said.

He added that the program will be an eclectic selection of styles from classical to pop celebrating Middletown and its relationship to the Great Miami River.

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The BPO used to be known as the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, but it changed its name last year.

Stanbery said that branding and marketing are important items to address in order to survive as a nonprofit, and it was time to make a change in order to broaden the group’s appeal to a wider audience.

“For about 12 years now, we have had a standing committee, within the board of directors in the orchestra, which we call the Symphony Expansion Committee,” Stanbery said. “You know in the world of business and in the arts or nonprofits, you are either growing or dying. It’s one of the two because there is no such thing as status quo. In our case – what does that mean? It means growing, because we certainly don’t want to die.”

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