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The Jacksonville Symphony

Emboldened by the numbers of local classical music aficionados who have made the trek down to Duval County now that our own symphony is no more, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra has scheduled three road concerts in Savannah over the next few months.

The first, this Sept. 25, features a pops program in tribute to the classic American songwriting team of Rodgers & Hammerstein and a nod to the more modern style of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

JSO Executive Director Alan Hopper says, “Savannah has not had an orchestra for a number of years, and we’d hoped something would redevelop and a new organization would emerge.”

However, since that hasn’t happened and since the local interest is obviously there, Hopper says the JSO “felt like it’s time to be a little bit innovative, and bring the music to Savannah instead.”

Contrary to the nationwide trend towards dwindling symphony audiences,

the JSO has experienced strong growth.

“Our audience is growing dramatically,” Hopper says. “Many orchestras have fallen into the trap of believing ‘if you build it, they’ll come,’ but that’s not the case with anything anymore. We’ve tried to create interest and momentum.”

Does Hopper find it somewhat ironic that his audience is growing while thousands of tickets to Jacksonville Jaguars home games continue to go unsold?

“I’m sure if the Jaguars were stronger there would be a bigger audience,” Hopper laughs. “But nobody loses at a concert if it’s a good orchestra.”

Sun., 7 p.m., Lucas Theatre; Tix are $25, $35 and $50. Call 525-5050.

Victor Wainwright

One of the only good things to result from Hurricane Katrina is the renewed interest in the artistic and cultural importance of New Orleans. Now, while the music known as boogie woogie certainly didn’t originate in bayou country, the dance craze which took its name from its infectious barrelhouse piano rhythms did. For a time, it was all the rage, from jazz swing clubs to the rockabilly movement of the ‘50s.

Full-tilt boogie is nowhere near as popular or prevalent as it once was, but don’t tell that to Vic Wainwright. The native Savannahian (now Floridian) has dedicated himself to perpetuating the genre, and his brand-new full-length debut (with his road band The Wild Roots) showcases a strong understanding of the form, and a heavy-handed, hell-or-high water outlook.

Rollicking, jazz-influenced numbers with giveaway titles like “Two-Lane Blacktop,” “Get Gone, Let’s Go!” and “Bad Seed” harken back to the late ‘50s, but also cleverly incorporate unexpected instrumentation – like mandolin, trumpet and Hammond organ. This should be one of the finest evenings of old-school dance music Savannah has seen in some time, and anyone who appreciates the golden age of rock and roll would be wise to attend. Some ticket packages include a copy of Vic’s new CD, and a BBQ dinner. For ticket info, call 667-5560 or 352-1771. Sat., 9 p.m., The Elk’s Club.

PoolerFest w/Sawyer Brown

It’s hard to believe these former Grand Prize winners of Star Search have been around under this name for just about a quarter of a century, but that’s a fact. Though their star has gone from bright to dim and back again since 1981, this Nashville-based country-pop act has retained mostly the same lineup for the duration, and their solid reputation for consistently good live shows has helped keep them not only afloat, but popular through the lean times when radio did not embrace what they were doing.

They’ve played our area several times over the years, and one should expect to hear many of their greatest hits (like the mid-’80s faves “Betty’s Bein’ Bad” and "This Missin' You Heart of Mine"), alongside their more recent crossover material. Local Southern rock bar band High Velocity opens the show.

Sat., 7 pm (gates open at 5 pm) Oglethorpe Speedway Park (Pooler).


The Rocky Horror Show live

This student production of Richard “Ritz” O’Brien’s gender-bending ‘70s rock opera about aliens, cannibalism, sexual experimentation and the glory days of sci-fi cinema suffers from a few shortcomings (less than ideal sightlines, and inadequate live sound), but that’s offset by the verve with which the actors dig into their ham-fisted roles.

Making the most out of a smallish set, the talented cast (especially the couple playing protagonists Brad Majors and Janet Weiss) elevate what could have been a middling attempt at aping the beloved Jim Sharman filmic version to the level of engaging cabaret. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for seniors and college students, and free for SCAD students, sold an hour before showtime. Intended for ages 17 and up. Fri.-Sat., 8 pm, Mondonaro Theater (217 MLK Jr. Blvd.). w