The Music in the Park free concert series will take on a local flavor this week.

The Parsons Community Orchestra will take the stage at the Seaton Family Pavilion in Forest Park. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We want local people on the stage as well as national acts,” Matt Hoisington, city of Parsons media and events director, said.

The Community Orchestra fits that bill as most of the musicians are from the Parsons area. The orchestra is led by Scott Nelson, a Labette Community College music adjunct professor.

The orchestra doesn’t have many opportunities to perform, Hoisington said, but Nelson chooses good music and the musicians put on a good show.

On Thursday the musical selections will vary widely. Nelson said the audience can expect an arrangement of George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” songs from Bruno Mars and Journey as well as patriotic music. The Parsons Community Chorus will join the orchestra for a couple of Broadway songs.

The orchestra usually numbers about 40 instrumentalists, mostly from the Parsons area but also from other Southeast Kansas cities. Nelson said some come from Missouri. The chorus will have 30 to 35 singers, who also are mostly local. There’s always good attendance when the orchestra performs at the park, Nelson said.

“It’s a good group. They play well together and it’s always well received,” he said.

Music in the Park is organized by the city of Parsons and Labette Community College with sponsorship from CST Storage. Concessions will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. In case of severe weather, concerts will be relocated to the Parsons Municipal Auditorium with the exception of the July 4 concert, which would be canceled.

Bench seating and picnic tables will be available for the concerts, but individuals are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. No alcoholic beverages or glass containers are allowed in the park, and smoking is restricted to designated areas.

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