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The magic of Broadway musicals

The Southern Oregon Concert Band will bring all of the excitement of stage musicals such as "Porgy and Bess," "The Wizard of Oz," "Sweet Charity" and others to its 2011 winter concert.

"We've come up with the theme 'The Magic of the Musical Stage' for this show," says Martin Behnke. Behnke has been the band's director since last fall.

The concert band will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

"Coming up with themes to organize concerts is an idea that I like," says Behnke. "And this one lends itself to having a soloist."

With that idea in mind, Behnke turned to Rogue Opera's Andrew Brock. Brock steered Behnke toward a young soprano named Kelly Hammond. As it turns out, Hammond is the daughter of Pam Hammond, a flutist with SOCB.

"The notion of a soloist came first," says Behnke. "Then I saw Kelly's performance videos on YouTube."

Kelly Hammond is a graduate of Ashland High School, and in 2010 she earned her bachelor's degree in music from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, Calif.

She's performed as Blanche in Polenc's opera "Dialogues of the Carmelites" and as Suor Angelica in Puccini's "Suor Angelica," along with newer musicals such as "Company" (with book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) and Henry Mollicone's "Children of the Sun."

She's performed internationally with Operafestival di Roma, and she's worked with Donald Pippen's Pocket Opera and Rogue Opera's Opera in the Schools.

Hammond will perform "Je Dis Que Rien," an aria from Bizet's "Carmen," along with George Gershwin's "Summertime" from the musical "Porgy and Bess," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from "Sweet Charity."

The concert band also will showcase John Phillip Sousa's "Tally Ho Overture," selections from "Miss Saigon" and "Music Man," along with the finale from William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's comic ballet, "Pineapple Poll."

Admission to the concert is $5, free for students. Call 541-708-0365.

Soprano Kelly Hammond will be the featured soloist for the Southern Oregon Concert Band's winter show. - Photo courtesy of SOCB