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The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra (HHSO) will kick off its 2021-2022 season – the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary and the 10th anniversary of Music Director John Morris Russell – with two free outdoor pops concerts and a pair of Orchestra Series concerts.

HHSO will present a free outdoor pops concert Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Martin Family Park, 68 Boundary St., in Bluffton, in conjunction with the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival.

The 2018 Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Vocal Competition Erica Gabriel will join Russell and the HHSO for a diverse program to include selections from the worlds of opera, Broadway, and the silver screen, as well as some patriotic favorites and classic songs.

Currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Kentucky, Gabriel has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Savannah Philharmonic, and the Jackson Symphony.

She was cast in Ravinia’s production of Bernstein’s Mass under the baton of Marin Alsop, which aired on the PBS Television Network as a part of their “Great Performances” series. She has also toured with the renowned American Spiritual Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Everett McCorvey.

All are welcome to bring chairs or blankets and food and drinks for a great family outing. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early as parking is limited.

The following evening, Oct. 22, also at 7:30 p.m., the same program will be presented free at Lowcountry Celebration Park at Coligny, 94 Pope Ave., on Hilton Head Island. Patrons are again encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, and food and drinks and enjoy great music for the whole family in the Lowcountry outdoors.

This concert is part of the Town of Hilton Head Island Office of Cultural Affairs’ Crescendo arts festival.

The venue shifts indoors to First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, for the first of nine Orchestra Series programs. Performances will take place Oct. 24 at 4 p.m., and Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Music Director Russell will be joined by 28-year-old American violinist Will Hagan for performances of the Violin Concerto by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

In a belated celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the concert will open with that composer’s buoyant Symphony No. 1; it will conclude with his stirring and triumphant Leonore Overture No. 3, from Fidelio. Each Orchestra Series performance will be preceded by a pre-concert discussion led by Russell and beginning one hour prior to the concert start time.

Single tickets for the Orchestra Series concerts are priced at $65, $50, and $25, and can be ordered through the HHSO’s website,, or by calling the HHSO office at 843-842-2055.

Venue capacity restrictions are in place at First Presbyterian Church, and all audience members must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and wear masks within the venue.