Chattin with Sal

Rachel Bailey poses for a portrait Wednesday outside the Wyoming Symphony Office in Casper.

The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra hosts two special summer events within the next month, so we chatted with executive director Rachel Bailey about both Wine on the River — which happens from 7-10 p.m. Wednesday at Jonah Bank, 777 W. First St. on the banks of the North Platte River — and Pops in the Park, which is Aug. 24 in Washington Park.

Why do you think Wine on the River has been so successful? We’re in our 13th year. I think the community loves it so much because it’s a very social evening and in a beautiful location right on the river. Who doesn’t want to come out and have some really good food paired with a glass of wine?

What’s new this Wednesday? We have a people’s choice award for the food, and all of the chefs and restaurants are very excited about it because it kind of allows them to push the creative boundaries a little bit. We’re going to have corks that people can put in receptacles to indicate their favorite dish or restaurant.

Tell us about the live auction and new raffle. We will have a very brief live auction about 8 p.m. The items include a three-night package at Brush Creek Lodge and Spa outside of Saratoga, a private party for 50 at the new Backwards downtown, a pair of custom Ariat boots the buyer helps create, a private tour of NASA and a weekend in Sheridan. The raffle prizes are two $1,000 gift certificates for United Airlines tickets. Raffle tickets are one for $20 or six for $100.

And the restaurants this year are? J’s Pub and Grill, Grant Street Grocery and Market, Casper Country Club, Flour Bin, Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana and new this year is Yellowstone Garage.

The wine is a bit different as well? Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits is back with their wine pairing expert Heather Wettlaufer. She’ll be showcasing a few of their higher-end wines this time, so that also is very exciting.

And the community gets to meet someone very special. Our new music director Christopher Dragon will be here and is very excited to come and meet some new folks and say hi to some of his new friends.

Tell us about Wine on the River tickets. They are $75 per person and although they are available at the gate on Wednesday night, it is much better to purchase them ahead of time at wyomingsymphony.org/events.

Okay, now let’s talk Pops in the Park on Aug. 24. This is the third year. It’s going to be a very, very special night because it’s Christopher Dragon’s first concert with the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. He has done a lot of pops concerts and contemporary concerts, so this is his forte and he loves it. The theme is a tribute to John Williams, so it’s everybody’s favorite music from one of the most renowned composers of our generation. There will be Star Wars, of course, but also Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Cowboys, a little something for everyone.

And this is not your grandma’s symphony. This can and will span the generations. It’s family-friendly, community-oriented. The thing I love the most is that families of all ages come out early, set up a picnic, then get exposed to really incredible live music under the stars.

Tell us about the tickets. Because of our sponsors, we have reduced the ticket prices this year. They are $18 for individuals and a family pass, which includes two adults and three kids under 18, is $55. All children under 10 are free, so families can work out what is the best deal for them, based on the ages of the kiddos. Again, I highly recommend buying ahead of time online. Bring your own food and bev, no glass though, and no pets. But there will also be some really awesome food vendors on site and Urban Bottle will be selling drinks, both soft and hard.

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Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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