The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Closes its Summer Series by Turning the Dial to WKRP in Cincinnati

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Pop, rock and R&B songs, heard on the 1978-82 sit-com about a wacky Cincinnati radio station, receive the KSO Boogie Band's authentic cover treatment in a nostalgic Labor Day weekend concert.

"Every time this KSO group performs, it's a party" — James Cassidy, KSO Music Director

The KSO closes its 23rd Summer Series on September 2nd with a combination of local lore and sit-com nostalgia. Between 1978-82 shots of Cincinnati (the skyline, downtown street-scapes, the River, Fountain Square) rolled across the nation’s television screens each week in the opening of the 30-minute comedy about a fictitious radio station in the Queen City. Music heard on the show offered a combination of contemporary rock (Toto, Bob Seger, Queen), R&B (Michael Jackson, The Pointer Sisters, O’Jays) and pop hits (Debby Boone, Herb Alpert) which often provided commentary on the comedy bits and situations (See complete play list attached). Given the KSO’s predilection for authentically covering nostalgic pop music with its studio orchestra, long-time Cincinnati Enquirer television/radio journalist, John Kieswetter suggested the WKRP theme idea.

WKRP in Cincinnati aired on CBS (1978-82) and was created by Hugh Wilson based upon his experiences, and the people he encountered working in sales at a Top 40 radio station in Atlanta (Wilson also wrote the theme song lyrics). The ensemble cast included Gary Sandy, Howard Hessman, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers, Richard Sanders and Frank Bonner. Like many other MTM productions (Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Lou Grant etc), humor came from running gags based on the biases and quirks of each character. Though the show centered on the hilarious antics of the dysfunctional radio station’s staff, WKRP occasionally dabbled in serious issues and drama, like the Who concert tragedy.

“With Labor Day weekend family traditions I thought the WKRP idea sounded kinda fun,” remarked KSO Music Director James Cassidy. “So much of the music heard on the show is timeless —"Old Time Rock & Roll" "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" "Green Onions..."

Over the years the KSO has formed five subsidiary groups to authentically present various American inspired musical genres (ragtime, Jazz, fusion, etc.). The KSO's Boogie Band, established in 1999, comprises a group of talented regional studio musicians and vocalists, and has built a library of over 275 pop, country, R&B, funk, disco, latin hits of the past 60 years, thanks to arranger/ orchestrator Terry LaBolt. "Every time this KSO group performs, it's a party", Cassidy proclaimed.

Join Music Director James Cassidy, the KSO’s Boogie Band and area vocalists at the amphitheater in Covington's Devou Park, Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. Dress like your favorite WKRP character and maybe give the theme song a little Car Pool Karaoke treatment on the way to the park. Bring blankets or lawn chairs and picnic or visit the KSO concession kiosk. The TANK Park & Ride Shuttle runs from Covington Catholic, on Dixie Highway in Park Hills, to the band shell from 6:00 -7:30 p.m., and returns immediately after the concert for $1 each way. For more information and directions, visit the KSO at or call (859) 431-6216. Free concert admission and parking, though a $5 donation is suggested.

For 25 years the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has taken the “phony” out of symphony by eliminating traditional barriers and presenting engaging, live, thematic concerts that enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The KSO performs three series of concerts annually throughout Northern Kentucky.

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James R. Cassidy
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
since: 07/2009
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