The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra will perform a FREE concert of classics this Wednesday night at 7 at the Gialamas Company’s 12th annual summer Concert in the Park at the Old Sauk Trails Business Park. Here are details and the background.

August 12, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Think of it as the Seventh Concert on the Square – except that the 12th annual Concert in the Park (below, in an aerial view) is from from downtown, located instead on Madison’s far west side in the Old Sauk Trails Business Park, 1200 John Q. Hammons Drive.

WYSO Concert in the Park Photo aeriel view

After all, it is OUTDOORS. And it is FREE. And it is on a Wednesday night – in fact this Wednesday night, Aug. 14, from 5-9 p.m., with the music starting at 7 p.m. sharp.

It is all very familiar friendly and features food and treats, including an ice cream social and a fireworks show.

But the annual Concert in the Park also has a few differences.

Here are some details about the event that is becoming increasingly popular as it becomes increasingly established as a showcase for young talent and a good time for the public.

For one, it is performed by the Youth Orchestra of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) rather than the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Any funds raised will benefit the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO), which has taught more than 5,000 young musicians from over 100 communities in Southcentral Wisconsin since it was a founded in 1966.

For more information about WYSO, here is a link to WYSO:

Also, the guiding financial support comes from the Gialamas Company, a real estate development firm headed by husband George and wife Candy Gialamas (below) as well as from other sponsors.

George and Candy Gialamas

For the fifth year in a row, the performers are extremely talented young students, WYSO’s premiere performing group (below) and who will perform under the baton of conductor James Smith, director of orchestras at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. And the repertoire is all classical music, drawn from the concert WYSO performances during its regular past season.

WYSO Concert in the Park, playing under Jim Smith 3


Here is the generous, varied and very accessible program, with the timing in minutes included in parentheses:

Overture to “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss Jr.  (9); Suite from the opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet featuring “Les Toréadors,” “Prelude et Aragonaise,” “Intermezzo,” “Les dragons d’Alcala,” the famous “Habanera” and the “Bohemian Dance” (15); First movement from the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra by Franz Joseph Haydn with oboist Lauren McNeel (10); the Allegro resolute, alla Marcia from Symphony No. 2, “Antar” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (5); INTERMISSION The second movement from Symphony No. 2, “Romantic” by Howard Hanson (14); Allegro Appassionato from the Concerto No. 2 in D Minor for Piano by Felix Mendelssohn with pianist Vivian Wilhelms (10); Music for Symphony Orchestra by Yasushi Akutgawa (12).

By way of introduction, conductor James Smith (below) writes:

“The concert is a wonderful exposure for the WYSO program, and the concert is presented with the utmost professionalism because of the financial support from the Gialamas Company.

“We perform for an audience that finds the orchestra far exceeds their expectations, and it gives the members of the orchestra another chance to feel appreciated for their musical talent.

“Naturally, our traditional audience is primarily family and friends of the musicians.  The Concert in the Park gives the orchestra a feeling of accomplishment and artistic validation.”



You can arrive around 5 p.m. to enjoy pre-concert activities, to socialize and to picnic. You can set up lawn chairs and blankets at that time.

Schoep’s Ice Cream and The Gialamas Company, Inc. will once again be partnering with the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund for the 5th Annual “Ultimate Ice Cream Social. All-you-can-eat ice cream is sold for $5 for adults, $3 for children, and $3 for a super scoop. Free face painting and coloring sheets are available for the kids. All the proceeds of this event go to keep the Heat and Power on for those most in need.

WYSO Concert in the Park kids eating ice cream 2


Appetizers, a picnic dinner and beverages are available from the concert caterers, Benvenuto’s Italian Grill or Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub. Food and drinks must be pre-ordered and placed with the restaurant of your choice prior to tomorrow, TUESDAY, August 13. Food is delivered to sponsor tables between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

If you do not have a reserved sponsor table but still wish to order food, you may pick up your order at the event. Menus and ordering information can be found online at

Sponsorships:  Are still available.  Contact for more information!

WYSO Concert  the Park Tent 4


Here is the history of the WYSO Concert in the Park as told by Candy Gialamas to Gialamas Company employee Erica Wiley:

How was the event started?  Whose idea was it?  How did the first year go?

It all began over 12 years ago. George and I went golfing with friends. The Clubhouse was closed by the time we were done, so one of our friends suggested a local restaurant that had an outdoor patio.

A group of musicians from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra was playing and after they were finished, Andrew Sewell, the conductor, came over and chatted with our table.  After Mr. Sewell’s departure from the conversation, one of our friends suggested that we should put on a classical Concert in Old Sauk Trails Park.

Shortly thereafter, George asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary … and I said an outdoor concert!

The first year, we only had one month to plan and orchestrate the entire event.  Our Construction Manager, Andy and I took care of everything and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performed.  We invited friends, family and our tenant and the first year, 800 people showed up.

The last few years, we’ve had audiences of 5,000.  The event continues to grow and flourish each year!

Do you or your children have a musical background or play an instrument?

Our entire family is very involved with numerous art and music organizations. George sang his way through college while attending Marquette University. Aris enjoys singing as well; Lana and Gina both took piano lessons as children.  All of the Gialamas children have followed in our footsteps and are involved with various art and music boards and fundraising.

What about symphonic music inspires you?  Why do you think everyone should experience a Symphony Concert?

The whole reason I wanted to start Concert in the Park was that music is a universal language and inspires feelings that everyone from any background and culture can relate to.

Symphony music can bring joy, sadness, excite or sooth and can inspire a range of emotions depending on the piece.  Since the beginning of time people have used musical expression to tell stories, document events, etc. Music is an integral part of history.

What do you think of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra performance as compared to a typical Symphony performance? (Editor’s note: You can hear WYSO perform the dramatic last movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s famous Fifth Symphony in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

The last five years, we have asked the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra to perform at the event and could not be more pleased with their performance each and every year.

The talent that the youth musicians possess is absolutely amazing and inspiring.  They give such an exceptional performance and you can feel their excitement at playing an outdoor venue in front of such a large crowd.  The audience can truly see how much they enjoy performing.  They are a wonderful group of musicians and we are proud to support them.

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