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The Summer Is Alive with the Sound of Music

Stravinsky. Jazz. Rockabilly. Premiere pieces. Gospel music. Individual performers and bands.

Just about any kind of music can be found throughout the summer at local parks, churches, schools and courtyards. Although summer hasn't officially begun, concerts are already taking place throughout the city. (See music section in calendar for complete details.)

This weekend, enjoy the sounds of the 21st Century Ensemble as it presents Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale.” Led by conductor Forrest Tobey, “The Soldier’s Tale” will be performed by the 21st Century Ensemble in the full dramatic version for which it was intended. The story about a soldier, who enters into a pact with the devil in return for wealth and power, is portrayed by two woodwinds, two brasses, two strings and a battery of percussion instruments.

Tobey said, “This is a concert is full of musical humor. It's very audience-friendly.”

The ensemble is featuring a piece by the contemporary American composer Michael Daugherty, who has made a name for himself by mixing popular culture with classical forms. Tobey said, “His ‘Superman Symphony’ is his large-scale accomplishment, but equally successful is his piece ‘Dead Elvis,’ which is scored for the same seven-piece orchestra as the Stravinsky.” The final piece is a premiere of the ensemble's latest Alma Vernon Gonigam Commission for conducted electronics and orchestra, composed by Washington D.C. composer Steven Hilmy. This work will feature the ensemble's interactive infrared conducting system, which controls the playback of the computer while simultaneously cueing the live musicians.

Concert will take place on Friday, May 31, at 8 p.m. at The Lyceum. Call 703-660-0028.

THE FOLLOWING TWO EVENINGS, the Alexandria Choral Society will perform the final concert of the season, "The Modern Muse." This concert will feature selections from modern American composers, including Randall Thompson's "The Peaceable Kingdom;" Daniel Gawthrop's "Night, Sleep, Death and the Stars;” and a newly commissioned piece by local composer Frances Thompson McKay, "River Time."

"The selections audiences will hear in our presentation of ‘The Modern Muse’ are at once subtle and incredibly moving and powerful pieces from a handful of the great American composers," said Keith Reas, conductor. "We are particularly thrilled to present the newest work of Frances Thompson McKay, a vividly composed and compelling piece of music."

Concerts will be presented Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m., at Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King St., and Sunday, June 2, at 4 p.m., at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 E. Capitol St., Washington, D.C. Call 703-548-4734.

THE MOUNT VERNON ORCHESTRA wraps up its season with concerts on June 2 and 9. The orchestra will perform Aram Khachaturian's "Suite from Masquerade" and Edvard Greig's "Lyric Suite, Op. 54."

Violinist Jason Day will join the orchestra for Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, Op. 14, and pianist Christopher Talbot will give a solo performance in Franz Liszt's "Totenanz for Piano and Orchestra."

Throughout the summer, the orchestra will continue its Chamber Music Series at The Lyceum. Beginning June 16, a soloist will perform in concert at 3 p.m. Coming up in June are soprano Martha Ellison on June 16, pianist Jacob Wolfe Kidder on June 23, and pianist Vladimir Khokhlov on June 30.

Concerts will be held on June 2 at Bishop Ireton High School, 201 Cambridge Road, at 7 p.m., and on June 9, at Carl Sandburg, 8428 Fort Hunt Road, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17-$20. Call 703-799-8229. Chamber Music Series are held at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.; admission is free.

FREE OUTDOOR CONCERTS will be held in Alexandria every Friday evening from May 31-Aug. 31. The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association and the City of Alexandria sponsor Seaport Summer Sounds. Concerts alternate between King Street Station and the Alexandria Marina. A variety of music will be offered, including swing, rhythm and blues, jazz, blue grass and gospel. This Friday, Frank Guldseth and The New Columbia Swing Orchestra will perform at King Street Station; on June 14, the Janine Wilson Band will appear at King Street Station.

Seaport Summer Sounds schedule is available through www.FunSide.com or by calling 800-388-9119.

MORE OUTDOOR CONCERTS will be offered by The Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. Lunch Bunch Concerts were given during May in Market Square by local school groups and will continue on Wednesdays in June at 12:15 p.m. Capoeira will play on June 5, and "mister don" will perform on June 12. Music at Twilight Concerts will be held on Thursday evenings at Fort Ward Park, 4301 W. Braddock Road, at 7 or 7:30 p.m. The series begins with Bill Parsons and Eric Weinberg on June 6 at 7 p.m. and Difficult Run Jazz Band on June 13 at 7 p.m.

For more information, call the Events Hotline at 703-883-4686.

IN MOUNT VERNON, the National Park Service will host its annual summer concert series at Fort Hunt Park. Concerts are given on Sunday evenings from 7-8 p.m. and are free. First concert will be held on June 23.

For more information, call 703-289-2556.