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Paul Robert Simón, In Memoriam

Photo of Paul Simon

Paul Robert Simón
President, Ariel Board of Directors

From Executive Director
Lora Lynn Snow

Paul Simón, President of the Ariel Board of Directors, passed away February 25, 2021. He transformed the board bringing in members with a wide variety of professional skills and he led us ever upward as we completed the restoration of our 1895 opera house. He will be greatly missed.

Paul was a renaissance man. He ran his farm but once owned an antique shop. He was head of the Mason County Emergency Team that stepped in to work at a moment’s notice, and he collected art. While working on the Main Street Committee he found out a community’s ranking could be elevated with certain amenities so he started an art gallery in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Through his many contacts he was able to get the Pitcairn family to loan art work to The Gallery at 409 – and while he was at it, he also found a soloist in the same family, violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn, for The Ohio Valley Symphony.On the left is a horse nuzzling up to Paul Simon, wearing work close and hat, on the right.

Paul worked with the Mason County Community Foundation that dispersed funds to worthy organizations and he was able to convince them to fund a string program facilitated by the OVS in the schools. He was a Rotarian and came to that via his father, Dr. Mel Simon, who ran a medical mission in the Philippines for over 30 years with Rotary support and with Paul’s help. Paul’s family home is a beautifully restored historic home, circa 1860.

Paul was a man of many interests, and he loved the Ariel and The Ohio Valley Symphony. He introduced numerous people to the symphony by inviting them to come and sit with him in what he liked to call “President’s Row.” Sometimes he would even escort them there in his limousine – a favorite story for him was how he traded a golf cart for that classic limo!

Paul loved people and he was always at concerts greeting people as they came in and spending time with them at concert receptions. He had a great gift for conversation and made it a point to get to know audience members and artists alike. Paul could easily speak with everyone from farmers to the governor and find common ground. If someone was in the hospital or in trouble and needing help, Paul was there to lend a shoulder and a hand.

These times of social distancing keeps us from those we care about, keeps us from gathering to mourn and to celebrate, keeps us from sharing the beauty of the music of The Ohio Valley Symphony. When we can safely return to the stage and once again elevate people to that place only music can take us, we will do a concert to honor Paul Simón and our journey together to make the Ariel Opera House what it is today.

A private family service was held on Monday, March 1st, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Point Pleasant, WV, followed by memorial service and interment at the Ohio Valley Memory Gardens in Gallipolis, OH. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the organizations that Paul was passionate about: the Ariel Ann-Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in Gallipolis, OH, the Community Foundation of Mason County in Point Pleasant, WV and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Point Pleasant, WV.

To donate to the Ariel and The Ohio Valley Symphony in memory of Paul, please click the Paypal link below.

From the Ariel Board of Directors…

Tracy Stewart Call, President

“Our friend Paul found real power in giving, especially to the Ariel. He showed us how giving is a two sided thing. First, it’s what it does to yourself. It gives you the experience of others, their personalities and families and it also lets other people experience you. I think Paul showed us how giving helps make us kinder while building something for the community.”

Jason Holdren, Vice President

Paul was a man of integrity and strength and his was a life based on giving back to our community. He had a gift of communication that put everyone at ease. He loved his family, the community, the arts and the Ariel.

Chris Petro, Treasurer

“Paul was a family man who was so passionate about his community and country. He was so full of life! Paul had an intense drive and focus to grow the performing arts and The Ohio Valley Symphony within our region. Just a solid leader and fun person to be around. We will miss you Paul.”

Jenny Evans, Esq., Secretary

“A life lived fully, with joy and appreciation of art and all good things!”

Mike Owens

“The phrase “Patron of the Arts” in our part of the Ohio Valley has meant Paul Simón. His outstanding contributions to local music at the Ariel Opera House and visual arts at the Gallery at 409 will be sorely missed. We who are grieving his loss must now carry his torch and continue to realize his dreams.”

Judy Holland

“Paul became one of our first friends when we moved to Mason county. He introduced himself to us at the first OVS concert that we attended and quickly became a friend. He got John involved with CERT and got both of us involved in becoming licensed Amateur Radio Operators, as well as getting us involved in personal defense training. But his greatest love was for the symphony. That’s where most of his time and interest was devoted and that’s where we spent our most enjoyable times together. It was Paul who asked me if I would be interested in serving as a Board Member for the Ariel and OVS. I said I would and I’m pleased to say that I am still serving.”

Steven Huang

Paul and his family are dedicated to a thriving classical music and fine arts presence in our community. Whether it was serving as our Board President, attending every symphony performance, shuttling his son to violin lessons, or hosting post-performance receptions, Paul was always with us. His spirit shall remain with us always, in the theater that he helped restore, and with the symphony he cherishes so dearly.

Lora Snow, Founder and Executive Director

Paul Simón was a great leader and arts connoisseur and a wonderful friend to all who knew him. He will be greatly missed but his work as president ensured that we have a strong and capable board that will carry on his fine work of bringing arts to the region.

(Paul’s online obituary can be found here.)

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Ariel Opera House COVID-19 Statement

Following the order of the Governor of the State of Ohio, the Ariel Opera House is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Virtual music lessons will be available via the Ariel AcademyWatch this page for updates!

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A Virtual Ariel Merry Tubachristmas!

Enjoy the low brass sounds of the Ariel’s Merry Tubachristmas! This annual event has brought together tuba and euphonium players from across Ohio and West Virginia, young and old, beginners and experts!

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A Video History of the Ariel Opera House

Watch the history of the Ariel Opera House unfold – from it’s opening on Christmas Day 1895 to the present.  Narrated by the founder and Executive Director Lora Lynn Snow.

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Ariel Academy Online Music Lessons

Ariel Academy LogoThe Ariel Academy is designed to help you find a teacher to guide you through your musical journeys. Whether you need to find a piano teacher for your first grader or are a professional taking orchestral auditions, a college student needing help with music theory or an aspiring composer needing guidance, you can set up one or more lessons with one of The Ohio Valley Symphony’s musicians.

Now is your opportunity to study music digitally right from the comfort of your own home with professional musicians who have a solid background of education and experience. Peruse the choices, contact one or more and then set up a time convenient for you both. Make this time at home count.

Start your music teacher search!

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Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Awards for the Arts Winner


Lora Snow, Executive Director
at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre,
Home of the Ohio Valley Symphony

Lora Lynn Snow is the founder and executive director of the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in Gallipolis, home of the Ohio Valley Symphony. Lora, an oboist, was inspired in 1987 to form a professional orchestra in Gallia County and recognized the amazing acoustics in the long-neglected 1895 Ariel Opera House that had been abandoned for 25 years. Lora spearheaded the restoration and set about to organize the community toward the grand reopening of the historic Ariel in 1990 with a performance of the Ohio Valley Symphony. Mrs. Ann Carson Dater gifted the Ariel as a permanent home to the Ohio Valley Symphony (OVS) in 2005, which added an additional theatre, conference room, and banquet rooms. The OVS, now in its 30th season as the only professional orchestra in the Ohio River Valley, recently premiered Songs of Rural America on PBS nationwide with folk singer Michael Johnathon.

Ohio Arts Council LogoHaving a holistic view of the arts, Lora also established a music education program, a double reed festival, a community theatre troupe, and OVS woodwind and dance programs at the Ariel. An active recitalist, clinician, and consultant with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance and education from the Ohio State University, Lora has taught at several universities and public schools covering kindergarten through graduate level inclusive. She is principal oboist for the Ohio Valley Symphony and OVS Woodwind Quintet, a member of the West Virginia Symphony, and a freelance musician.

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Our #FeaturedFriday doubles as a #FlashbackFriday today as we take a look at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in Gallipolis, Ohio. The first image in this video is from the opera house’s grand opening celebration in 1895, and the second is a photo taken in 2019 by #OHGovernorsAwards2020 #ArtsAdministration award winner Lora Lynn Snow. A professional oboist and Gallipolis resident, Lora was integral to the restoration of this architectural and artistic jewel in Southeast Ohio. . Under Lora’s leadership, the community came together to clear the pigeon manure and other debris that had collected in the Ariel during its 25 years of disuse. Inspired by the opera house’s marvelous acoustics, Lora envisioned the restored space as a top-class performance venue for internationally renowned musicians and ensembles, including the Ohio Valley Symphony (OVS), the only professional orchestra in the Ohio River valley. In 1990, the newly restored Ariel Opera House celebrated its grand opening with a performance by the Symphony, and it has since welcomed many guest conductors and artists to its stage, including folk singer Michael Johnathon, who recently performed “Songs of Rural America” with the OVS in a concert that was nationally broadcast on PBS. . As executive director of the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, Lora has worked to engage audiences through a holistic view of the arts, establishing at the Ariel a music education program, a double reed festival, a community theatre troupe, OVS woodwind and dance programs, and more. She is principal oboist for the Ohio Valley Symphony and OVS Woodwind Quintet, a member of the West Virginia Symphony, and a freelance musician. . We’re thrilled to recognize Lora’s passionate dedication to leadership in the arts with this award! Come celebrate with us and learn more about Lora and all our winners at the 2020 Governor’s Awards luncheon on March 25. Get your tickets today via the link in our bio! . Photos courtesy of Lora Lynn Snow | #ArtsAdministration #OhioArtists #ArtsOhio #ArielOperaHouse #Gallipolis #OhioHistory #OperaHouse

A post shared by Ohio Arts Council (@ohioartscouncil) on

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Gift Certificates Available!

An Ariel Opera House Gift Certificate is the perfect way to share the music – and at the same time give support to the arts in your community! Gift certificates can be for specific dollar values or even for “a year of lessons”!* Purchase a Season Subscription to The Ohio Valley Symphony’s upcoming 2020-2021 concert season – or just purchase a gift for an upcoming show!

Call the Box Office today at 740-446-ARTS!

*Purchase your certificate before December 15th to have it mailed to the recipient in time for Christmas or stop by and pick it up. Gift Certificates may be used for Ariel Opera House presented concerts, events, and merchandise. Gift Certificates may not be accepted for concert and events presented by others.

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200425 PosterPOSTPONED
Date to be determined
at 7:30 p.m.

On Sale Soon

What’s better than one horn soloist? How about 4 of them! The entire horn section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Erik Ralske, Hugo Valverde, Javier Gandara and Barbara Jöstlein Currie, is coming to the Ariel stage to perform the magnificent Schumann Konzertstück for 4 Horns on April 25th. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say you will be blown away! The OVS will also play one of my personal favorites, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

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200627 PosterRescheduled from an earlier date
June 27, 2020
at 7:30 p.m.

All tickets for the March 21, 2020 concert will be honored.

Purchase Tickets Now

Ilya Finkelshteyn, principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, will perform Dvorak’s lush Concerto for Cello on June 27th with Maestro Keitaro Harada on the podium. Also, to stir your soul on the Romantic Cello program, is Brahms’ much loved Symphony No. 2. Love is definitely in the air!

Conductor Keitaro Harada

Conductor Keitaro Harada continues to be recognized at the highest levels for his artistic abilities and passion for musical excellence. As a three-time recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award (2014, 2015, 2016), Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (2013), the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, a student of Lorin Maazel at Castleton Festival and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival, Harada’s credentials are exemplary.

In his third season as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, Harada regularly assists Music Director Louis Langrée and conducts the CSO, POPS, and World Piano Competition, and assists James Conlon and Juanjo Mena for the May Festival. Keitaro also holds the position of Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera.

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Postponed – RVHS Drama Club’s ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

200327-28 RVHS PlayPostponed – New Date To Be Determined
at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets previously purchased for this event will be honored on the new date.

Purchase your tickets online. Purchase Tickets Now

The River Valley High School Drama Department is incredibly excited to present Arsenic and Old Lace, the classic comedy featuring two sweet, old sisters who happen to spike the wine they serve with poison. With nearly 30 students involved in this production, this show is truly a group effort that incorporates the various high school disciplines and support from the community. Filled with slapstick comedy, murder, and even love, this is a show that you won’t want to miss. Drink up!

Doors open at 7pm each night, where tickets will also be available for purchase.

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191109 Poster November 9, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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Last year’s Songs of Rural America pops concert, seen nationwide on television, let us know that you wanted pops added to our mix. Maestro Tim Berens and Broadway tenor Mike Eldred (Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables) have a terrific Salute to Our Veterans concert on November 9th just in time for Veterans Day!

The concert will feature 4 world premieres of music by Tim and Louise Berens. These premieres include new arrangements of the classics When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Danny Boy, and a brand new composition entitled Messages from Mount Rushmore by Tim and Louise Berens.

Messages from Mount Rushmore was inspired by a 2008 visit to Mount Rushmore, when Tim wondered “What would they have to say to us today?” The piece contains wise, stirring, funny and inspirational quotes from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, accompanied by rousing music. Their messages offer guidance to navigating our modern, hectic world.

Tim Berens, conductor

Tim Berens’ multi-faceted career gives testament to his lifelong quest to learn, perform and write music. So far, his venture has led him through the worlds of classical guitar, jazz guitar, orchestral guitar, arranging, orchestration, composition, and conducting.

During his years as the guitarist for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Tim played guitar, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki on concerts, recordings, television programs, and tours. Beginning in the late 1990’s, Tim began arranging for the CPO, eventually becoming the orchestra’s principal arranger.

His arrangements are regularly performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl.

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SUNDAY SOUNDS with Jonathan Hawkins

191201 Hawkins Sunday Sounds
“Musical and Folk Traditions Through the Ages”

Sunday, December 1, 2019
2:00 p.m.
Ariel Chamber Theatre

Free Concert, No Ticket Required

The historic Ariel Opera House presents Sunday Sounds with guitarist Jonathan Hawkins performing a unique blend of musical traditions of the Americas, Spain, Brazil, Malawi, and more. Join us for this free Sunday afternoon concert to be held in the 3rd floor Ariel Chamber Theatre. ADA accessible.

Jonathan Hawkins is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, composer/arranger, and producer.  He has toured internationally as a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist with Broadway productions, as a soloist under the stage name Little Lawnmowers, and as a member of bands ranging from Electronic/EDM to traditional/old-time and jazz.  Outside of performing, Jonathan stays busy arranging and composing for commission, theatrical productions, and studio albums.

If you are interested in keeping up with Jonathan, visit, or check out his touring folk/roots/world music act, Little Lawnmowers (

Admission is free ~ donations accepted at the door.

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191207 PosterDecember 7, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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Last year’s sold out Christmas Show! concert under the baton of Maestro Steven Huang made it clear that this is one of your favorites. Get your tickets early to this December 7th concert and make sure you don’t miss out! And if you have ever had a secret desire to lift the baton and bring out beautiful music, you too could be a Maestro For A Moment at this annual symphony fundraiser. Contact us to be a part of this fun and wonderful event.

Conductor Steven Huang

Maestro Steven Huang has conducted orchestras and operas across the country and throughout the world. At the age of twenty-one, he served as Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard University, where he received his undergraduate degree. While at Harvard, Mr. Huang also directed the Lowell House Opera (the oldest continuously running opera company in New England), in a critically acclaimed production of Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

Mr. Huang has worked with musicians around the world, including California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Haiti, and Romania. He has held the position of Music Director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Central Illinois Youth Symphony, the Gilbert and Sullivan Players of Chicago, and the Bradley University Orchestra. In America, he has guest conducted professional ensembles such as the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Shore Symphony (IL), and the Four Seasons Symphony (CA).

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A DELIGHTFUL DIVA’S CHRISTMAS starring Geena Jeffries Mattox

191221 Poster Geena

December 21, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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Come on, Ring those bells and step into the holiday spirit with a Delightful Diva’s Christmas.  Take a sleigh ride down 42nd Street with some familiar show tunes, then pop into the Metropolitan Opera for a taste of Diva and finish up with several of your favorite Christmas delights.  No better way to sprinkle the season with true meaning and joyful glee.

Ms. Jeffries-Mattox recently relocated to the tri-state area after more than two decades of performing throughout the United States and Europe.  Credits include, featured Soprano Soloist – Carnegie Hall – Conducted by John Rutter; Featured Soprano Soloist – Colorado Symphony Orchestra; leading roles with Tulsa Opera, Opera Colorado, Chicago Light Opera; Featured Soprano soloist for ESPN’s ESPY Awards at Radio City Music Hall; Winner of Bel Canto Competition, San Francisco Opera Competition and Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Semi-Finalist.  Ms. Mattox made her Broadway Debut at the Majestic Theater as Carlotta in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, The Phantom of the Opera.  She later originated the role of Carlotta in Las Vegas Phantom of the Opera, A Las Vegas Spectacular.  She is pleased to be sharing the stage with the magnificent piano virtuosity of Mark Parsons-Justice, the gorgeous tone and commanding styling of guitarist Jonathan Hawkins along with the beautiful clarity and innocence of vocalist, Emily Mattox.

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Masterclass with Lindsey Goodman


Flutists of all ages are invited to attend a masterclass held by Ohio Valley Symphony soloists, Lindsey Goodman. Admission is free and open to the public. Applications to perform for this masterclass are now being accepted. Lindsey would like young and old, beginner to professional to perform. Those selected will receive a free ticket to hear her performance with The Ohio Valley Symphony that evening.

Those interested should email with your name, email address, phone number and a short bio, or call the Box Office at 740-446-ARTS.

A limited number of spaces are available.

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191026 Poster October 26, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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You asked for him and he’s back! Maestro Keitaro Harada returns to the podium twice this season on October 26th and March 21st. The Fabulous Flute with soloist Lindsey Goodman, OVS’s own piccolo and flutist, who performs an Ohio premiere of Nancy Galbraith’s Concert for Flute. Independent Streams for percussion and strings is another Ohio premiere – written by the OVS’s principal percussionist Roger Braun (a fitting piece as Lindsey’s husband is also a percussionist). Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 and de Fall’s much loved Three Cornered Hat round out the program.

Conductor Keitaro Harada

Conductor Keitaro Harada continues to be recognized at the highest levels for his artistic abilities and passion for musical excellence. As a three-time recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award (2014, 2015, 2016), Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (2013), the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, a student of Lorin Maazel at Castleton Festival and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival, Harada’s credentials are exemplary.

In his third season as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, Harada regularly assists Music Director Louis Langrée and conducts the CSO, POPS, and World Piano Competition, and assists James Conlon and Juanjo Mena for the May Festival. Keitaro also holds the position of Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera.

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Jewell Victoria Evans Memorial Donation

Jewell Evans was half of the Bob Evans business dynasty, creating recipes and providing her expertise in developing the restaurant chain that grew to include restaurants all up and down the east coast – all while raising a family of six children.  It all started with Jewell’s recipe for Springfield Farm Sausage, as it was called for the first year and a half of their business.

Jewell loved music and she and Bob were part of the original Ariel Board of Directors formed in the late 1980s.  Jewell and Bob lent their name and support to the fledgling organization that was created to become the home for The Ohio Valley Symphony, a new professional orchestra in Southeastern Ohio.  Jewell rarely missed an Ohio Valley Symphony concert and loved talking about the performance at length afterwards.  She recognized that music can elevate one’s soul in a way nothing else can, and her perennially upbeat mood and positive thinking mirrored what we work towards at the Ariel Opera House.  One could never leave Jewell’s presence without being uplifted.  She was the personification of her name and we will always treasure her time with us.  We will miss her, but recognize how blessed we are to have had the chance to know her.

Jewell’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made
in her memory to The Ohio Valley Symphony.
To make a donation in Memory of Jewell Victoria Evans, please click on the button below.
The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Cultural & Performing Arts Centre and The Ohio Valley Symphony are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, Federal Tax ID# 31-1273779

Visit the McCoy-Moore Funeral Homes, Inc. website for obituary.
Visit The Gallipolis Daily Tribune for an article celebrating the life of Jewell Evans.

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OVS Songs of Rural America on WVPBS!

Songs of Rural America
Television Broadcast on WV-PBS

Mark your calendars now! July 6th at 6:00 pm ET The Ohio Valley Symphony with Michael Johnathon  will be broadcast on WVPBS Channel 33.  Songs of Rural America was recorded live at the historic Ariel Opera House in Gallipolis, Ohio.

WVPBS can be found by tuning to DishNet and Directv channel 33 or over-the-air channel 33.1.

(Please note that the screening event has been cancelled at the Colony Club due to its closing.)

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2019-20 Season Subscription! The Ohio Valley Symphony

19-20 NEW SeasonNew Subscribers Buy Here Now!

New subscribers click the purple button to purchase your season subscription or call the Box Office at 740-446-ARTS (2787).  Existing subscribers who wish to keep their current seats call the Box Office to order!

Who would have thought back in 1989 when we had our first Ohio Valley Symphony concert on a bare stage with the audience on folding chairs and no heat, that such a powerhouse could come from that inauspicious beginning and grow and move forward to us now celebrating our 30th season as the only professional symphony orchestra in Ohio River valley, attracting world class musicians and globe trotting conductors? But we did! And we have a spectacular 30th season planned for you!

The 2019-20 Season will see on the Ariel stage three exciting maestros conducting The Ohio Valley Symphony in 6-concerts featuring world class soloists.

The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Cultural & Performing Arts Centre and The Ohio Valley Symphony are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, Federal Tax ID# 31-1273779

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Orva Walker Heissenbuttel Memorial Service

May 18, 2019
at 2 pm

Join the historic Ariel Opera House for a memorial service for long-time friend and benefactor Orva Walker Heissenbuttel.

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