The Eugene Symphony and Douglas County Youth Orchestra performed at the second-to-last Music on the Half Shell concert Tuesday night at Stewart Park.

A large crowd gathered on blankets and chairs to hear classical music, enjoy the cool summer night and socialize with friends.

Jack Smith and Deanna Watson of Winston said they enjoyed listening to classical music outdoors.

“I like the setting, the environment and the atmosphere,” Smith said. “The peacefulness and friendliness.”

The Douglas County Youth Orchestra opened the concert at 7 p.m. with a variety of songs ranging from Mozart to an Irish Jig. The Eugene Symphony came out at 8 p.m. after a long intermission and performed both classics and familiar songs from movies and broadway.

Francesco Lecce-Chong, director and conductor of the of the Eugene Symphony, said he enjoys coming to the Half Shell and performing for the audience.

“Every year is a little bit different, but I love it because ... it’s a chance for me to let out my inner child and do more fun, family-friendly material,” Lecce-Chong said. “Not just gigantic, hour-long symphonies.”

Event Coordinator Clint Newell said the concert was the product of a partnership between the Umpqua Symphony Association, which organizes the youth orchestra, and the Half Shell.

“They are a very good orchestra and they do very nice work. They put on a quality performance,” Newell said. “You gotta be here to really appreciate it, but it’s just delightful to do a symphonic concert outdoors in the park in the summer. It’s glorious.”

Sally Joyce and Lava Ding of Roseburg said they are big fans of classical music.

“We’re very much looking forward to this and by the size of the crowd, I’d say other folks are as well,” Joyce said.

Joyce has a granddaughter who is a part of the band at Joseph Lane Middle School. Joyce said she’s glad that her granddaughter has a path to pursue music within the community.

The youth orchestra, comprised of 18 musicians, was not hooked up to a speaker during its performance and were hard to hear. Lorraine Herdman and Matthew Skoda of Sutherlin said they were upset that they could not hear the youth orchestra playing.

“They don’t have them hooked up to the sound system,” Herdman said. “We were really looking forward to this.”

The Eugene Symphony, comprised of 70 musicians, partners with the Douglas County Youth Orchestra to teach and train them throughout the year.

“DCYO students open the performance which is an incredible, often once in a lifetime, opportunity for the students,” the youth orchestra website reads.

Lecce-Chong said that bringing the community together is one of his favorite things about performing at the Half Shell.

“That’s what I think is so special for us, being able to share our music outside of our city with other communities as well. That means a lot to us,” Lecce-Chong said. “That’s really all we’re trying to do is provide these opportunities for people to come together, whether it’s up in Eugene a lot or in smaller cities.”

Hannah Kanik is a general assignment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at hkanik@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4210. Or follow her on Twitter @hannah_kanik.

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Hannah Kanik is the Charles Snowden intern at The News-Review.

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