The annual “Symphony at the Celebration” concert features the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony along with guest artists in a concert at Calsonic Arena, on the grounds of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
The concert is casual-dress and family-friendly. Children and students are admitted free of charge, with adult general admission only $5. Box seats are also available. All ticket proceeds benefit Bedford County Arts Council.
The Nashville Symphony will be led by resident conductor Albert-George Schram, who conducts the symphony’s pops concert series in Nashville. The Community High School Band, directed by Jimmy Bratcher, will join the Nashville Symphony for the concert finale.
Pre-concert activities, including an art show on the arena concourse, take place as people gather for the concert, and you’re welcome to bring a picnic supper to enjoy during that time. Concessions are also available.
The Nashville Symphony will bring its “instrument petting zoo” for the pre-concert activities, giving children the chance to get hands-on experience with actual symphonic instruments.
The Nashville Symphony has performed in Shelbyville since 1989. In the first few years, organizers experimented with various seasons of the year in which to hold the concert and, as a result, there was at one point a year-and-a-half break between concerts. Except for that break, the concert has been an annual event. The first concert was held in the main outdoor arena at the Celebration; since that time, the concerts have been held in Calsonic Arena, the indoor arena on the Celebration grounds.
The concert was originally sponsored by Berol Corp. and Shelbyville Rotary Club. Later, after First American Bank became the presenting sponsor, a local steering committee was established under the leadership of the late Scott McDonald and the concert became affiliated with Bedford County Arts Council. Guest artists were added to the program and an art show was begun on the arena concourse. Today, Regions Bank is the area-wide sponsor of the Nashville Symphony’s community concert series.
Although the concert’s primary purpose is to be entertaining and to expose all ages to fine music, ticket proceeds benefit the Arts Council and the work it does year-round to promote the arts in the community.