Community Concerts

Celebrate America! 4th of July Tour 2024

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Various: See Below
8:00 pm

Each year, the WSO travels across the state to provide free patriotic celebrations with our Celebrate America 4th of July tour. This year, tenor soloist Ben Gulley will join us to perform a variety of patriotic and operatic songs.

Featuring

Ben Gulley

American tenor Ben Gulley has been hailed as “outstanding" (Opera News) and "startlingly gifted" (San Francisco Classical Voice). The award-winning artist’s recent seasons have included feature roles in opera, solo engagements, concert, film work, touring and important appearances abroad. Recent artistic and critical triumphs include his debut as Romeo in the rave-reviewed Roméo et Juliette with Opera Idaho (2024), headlining “An Evening with Sir Tim Rice” alongside the EGOT legend himself (2024), winning Broadway World’s “Best Actor In A Musical” award for his debut as Quasimodo in Dennis DeYoung's Hunchback of Notre Dame with Skylight Music Theatre (2022), a debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Sarasota Opera (2022), Tenor Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with Orchestra Iowa (2023) and international engagements as Tenor Soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum with Maestro Hartmut Haenchen and as Tenor Soloist in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde opposite renowned mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung with the Belgian National Orchestra in Brussels and Namur, Belgium under Maestro Hugh Wolff (2021). In April of 2023, Gulley enjoyed a triumph with Portland Opera, jumping into the role of the Prince in Rusalka on two days’ notice and traveling directly to a dress rehearsal with no prior musical or stage rehearsals. Then, weeks later, he ended the season in similarly heroic and dramatic fashion by learning and performing the role of Foresto in Verdi’s Attila in three weeks’ time for a last-minute replacement at the Opera Festival of Chicago. Mr. Gulley is equally at home in the musical theater, having won praise and awards for his turn as Quasimodo in Dennis DeYoung’s Hunchback of Notre Dame (Skylight Musical Theatre, 2022). Dan in Next To Normal (MTH, 2016), Jack in Into The Woods (MTH, 2010), An Evening with Cole Porter (MTH, 2014) and originating Disney’s stage version of the evil puppeteer, Stromboli, in Stephen Schwartz’s Gepetto and Son (now My Son Pinocchio, Coterie Theater). As a contemporary crossover artist, 2016 marked the commercial release of Mr. Gulley’s debut solo album of original music, In Between, which is available on every major music distribution and streaming service. From 2010 through 2014, Mr. Gulley was also a member of the Sony/BMG Masterworks recording and global touring group The American Tenors, alongside fellow tenors Nathan Granner and Daniel Montenegro and produced by creator and producer of The Irish Tenors, Frank McNamara. Mr. Gulley was also featured twice on the nationally-televised PBS Memorial Day event “Celebration At The Station” with the Kansas City Symphony and Maestro Michael Stern.

John Devlin, conductor

Conductor John Gennaro Devlin, is an ardent champion of American music, an innovator of concert design, and a thought leader in the field of classical music. In his fifth season as Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Devlin is only the ninth conductor in its 90-year history to hold that title. He was recently named a recipient of the 2023 Georg Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award. Devlin’s artistry and versatility make him a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras across the nation. His engagements include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the American Repertory Ballet. Of his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and violin soloist Joshua Bell, Anne Midgette of The Washington Post wrote that Devlin “led the evening with flair … and was visibly in his element.” A strong advocate for American music, Devlin has made it a programmatic focus and has premiered over 40 new American works. Committed to serving the wider arts community beyond the podium, Devlin is part of the six-member Conductor Constituency Leadership Team of the League of American Orchestras, advocating for conductors nationally. Previously, he served on the Conductors Guild’s Board of Directors and was a featured speaker at the organization’s annual conference, discussing the future of orchestras with the Executive Directors of the National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. He also delivered the keynote TED talk on “Innovation in Crowded Marketplaces” at a TEDx symposium. Devlin completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of James Ross at the University of Maryland. His undergraduate degree is from Emory University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Clarinet Performance and Latin.