Youngstown State University Wind Ensemble will kick off the 2012-13 concert season for the Dana School of Music with a free concert Wednesday at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.
Stephen Gage, conductor of the ensemble and director of bands at Dana since 1993, said the amphitheater concerts started four years ago in conjunction with the celebration of the 140th anniversary of Dana School of Music.
''What better place to start the concert season off than right down the street from the original school?'' Gage said.
The Dana School of Music was started in 1869 in downtown Warren, where it remained for decades before becoming affiliated with Youngstown College in 1941.
Gage said he looks forward to the ensemble's concerts at the outdoor venue.
''It's fantastic,'' he said. ''It's as good or better than any in the region. We don't have to amplify there, and as a lover of acoustical sounds ... The way the shell was designed, for me personally, it's one of my favorite places to play.''
If you go:
WHAT: YSU Wind Ensemble season kickoff
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Warren Community Amphitheatre, 303 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
COST: Admission is free
In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to Room 2326 of Bliss Hall on the YSU campus.
Wednesday's concert also will serve as an unofficial CD release party for the YSU Wind Ensemble. Its second CD, "Old Wine in New Bottles," was released last week by NAXOS International, the world's largest online distributor of classical music, and it will be the first concert where the disc will be for sale.
The album was produced by D. Jack Ciarniello and recorded at Stambaugh Auditorium. It features guest appearances by several Dana faculty members, including Kathryn Umble, flute / piccolo; Tedrow Perkins, oboe / English horn; D. William Byo, bassoon; and Christopher Krummel, trumpet.
None of the album tracks will be part of Wednesday's concerts; Gage said the timing of the two events was coincidental.
''This is more of a pops concert, kind of reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century band concert,'' Gage said.
The outdoor show will feature marches by John Philip Sousa and E.E. Bagley, John Williams' ''Olympic Fanfare & Theme'' and a salute to the Armed Forces. Sierra McCorvey, a Dana senior from Howland, will sing George Gershwin's ''Someone to Watch Over Me'' with the ensemble. Keith Petersen, a senior from Pittsburgh, will serve as narrator on Randol Alan Bass' orchestral work ''Casey at the Bat.'' In addition to Gage, the concert will include guest conductors Brandt Payne and Eric Bable.
The Wind Ensemble is one of five YSU bands, and it is comprised of 52 students from four states.