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Albany Symphony begins 48th season

Lady Tramaine Hawkins, right, a Gospel Music Hall of Famer and two-time Grammy winner, will perform when the Albany Symphony Orchestra opens its 48th season Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Dr. Henry Panion III, best known for his work as conductor and arranger for music legend Stevie Wonder, will serve as guest conductor.

Lady Tramaine Hawkins, right, a Gospel Music Hall of Famer and two-time Grammy winner, will perform when the Albany Symphony Orchestra opens its 48th season Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Dr. Henry Panion III, best known for his work as conductor and arranger for music legend Stevie Wonder, will serve as guest conductor.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany Symphony Orchestra opens its 48th season Saturday with a celebration concert at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

The concert, titled “Celebration XIV: The Gospels Go Classical,” marks the 14th year of the celebration concert partnership between Mt. Zion and the symphony.

“Kicking off the symphony season at Mt. Zion is a unique way to showcase gospel music in a classical setting,” said Karen Allen, executive director of the Albany Symphony Association, the orchestra’s administrative arm.

“We are excited to have our season opener of the Albany Symphony Orchestra in the new sanctuary at Mt. Zion. We’re honored to be partnering with Mt. Zion for the 14th year in a row for what really is a celebration of music.”

The performance features symphonic gospel arrangements with the full orchestra and the combined choirs of Mt. Zion and Sherwood Baptist churches of Albany.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to partner with the Symphony to bring the music of African-American composers and performers to the Albany area and surrounding communities,” said Dr. T. Marshall Jones, minister of music at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

The concert will be lead by guest conductor Dr. Henry Panion III, best known for his works as conductor and arranger for music legend Stevie Wonder.

Also featured will be violinist Randall Goosby, the 15-year-old winner of the junior division of the Sphinx Competition, and the vocals of Gospel Music Hall of Famer and two-time Grammy winner, Lady Tramaine Hawkins.

This year marks the 146th anniversary of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and the 20th anniversary of the service of Pastor Daniel Simmons. It is also the first year the concert will be held in the new Mt. Zion sanctuary, which includes state-of-the-art technology and the seating capacity for more than 2,000.

The symphony will return to its home, the historic Albany Municipal Auditorium, for the rest of the season, which continues its theme of spotlighting Albany cultural institutions through music. The next concert after Saturday’s event is scheduled Nov. 19.

General admission to the celebration concert is free and reserved seating is included for Albany Symphony Orchestra season ticket holders. The concert begins at 4 p.m. at Mt. Zion, 901 S. Westover Blvd. in Albany.

For more information about the Albany Symphony Orchestra, including tickets, concerts and donation opportunities, visit www.albanysymphony.org or call (229) 430-8933.