What a sensational 2022–23 season for the Carmel Symphony Orchestra! In the words of CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes, “We’re back!” Having personally attended some of the concerts that offered not only variety but first-class entertainment, I fully understand Hymes’ sentiment in that the orchestra and the concert experience feels comparable to the environment prior to the pandemic … only even more energetic and exciting! A Season in Review I spoke with Hymes about her thoughts on this past season as well as what she is most excited about as we look forward to what she has programmed for the CSO 2023–24 season. “This season went by quick,” Hymes expressed. “It was a great season for us for so many reasons. It’s been a really positive season for us in terms of the energy from the audience and the orchestra playing really well.” In addition to enjoying a post-pandemic vibe in and around the Palladium, Hymes has been able to engage the community at-large in purposeful ways. “We have a huge community that extends well beyond Carmel’s city limits,” Hymes stated. “We have people coming from all of these areas with all different kinds of tastes. We perform concerts for kids and families, people who want to have ‘date night,’ and people who enjoy classics — and we’re not taking away from that. In fact, all we’ve added! We’ve had more pops concerts than we’ve ever had before and more educational opportunities than ever before. I’ve visited and worked with five or six area school districts, and I think we’re really infiltrating with our communities in ways that are not just presenting concerts but are resonating with people and in their daily lives. It’s very positive and rewarding.” Building from that Momentum Having reviewed the upcoming lineup for CSO’s upcoming season, it is apparent that Hymes has put a lot of thought and heart into the programming aspect of her role as artistic director. “We have some really great music and exciting stuff coming up,” Hymes revealed. “Anybody looking at this next season is going to find at least one or two things that they would go to and really enjoy. It does take me some time to put a season together, and I am a little methodical about how I program.” The CSO opener will be on October 7, 2023, and will feature a commissioned piece by Carmel resident Caroline Kyunga Ahn. “Caroline is a really fine composer,” Hymes said. “We’ve commissioned her to write an opening piece for us, and we’re also bringing in Gabriela Martinez, who’s a gorgeous person and musician, to play Mozart, and then we’re doing Beethoven Symphony No. 7 — which is an exhilarating piece! We will be doing this really cool Gershwin concert for kids — it’s another of our ‘Classical Kids Live’ concerts and people love those. And in November, we’re changing the program just a little bit. We’re doing a piece by Valerie Coleman — and African American composure that I’ve wanted to perform. She wrote a piece called ‘Umoja, Anthem of Unity’ on November 11. It happens to be Veteran’s Day, and so we’re also doing a piece by Ives, ‘Variations on America,’ which is lovely. This concert will be very moving and special. I want to thank our veterans … because of them, I can share beautiful music with people.” This year’s Holiday Pops in December will feature Broadway singer Ben Davis, Carmel’s own Amelia Wray of Disney’s “Sydney to the Max” TV series, and Indiana Ballet Conservatory as well as the Second Presbyterian Choir. Hymes expressed her excitement for the Holiday Pops program to end the calendar year and what’s on deck first for the new year … Cirque de la Symphonie! “Cirque de la Symphonie is amazing, and it’s going to be incredible,” Hymes expressed. “Like Cirque du Soleil, we will have acrobats and we will have a stage extension, so it’s going to be a very cool show that will be visually stunning. We will be doing our ‘Family Fun’ concert later that January, which is where we bring the kids up on stage. They love that.” CSO’s Masterworks 3 – Symphony goes to the Movies, will feature Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” and yes, CSO has secured the rights to show the movie in conjunction with the concert. Masterworks 4 and Masterworks 5 are also guaranteed to move the audiences by featuring popular pieces by Dvorak, Stravinsky and Messa da Requiem — that will be performed along with Anderson University Choirs. “I am really looking forward to the ‘Side-By-Side’ with Carmel High School,” Hymes said. “We haven’t been able to do that because of COVID. And lastly, we will be doing our ‘Jeans ‘n Classics “Soulful”’ in May. We’re seeing that people are really reacting to these soul and ‘hip’ concerts like the Serpentine Fire that was so much fun, and a lot of people came out. I’m just really loving my job, and I’m really excited about what we are doing. I think it’s really exciting, and I feel that CSO is in a really great place right now.” For more information on the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and the upcoming 2023–24 season, visit carmelsymphony.org. CSO 2023–24 Season Lineup Masterworks 1-Modern Classics – Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. Sounds Exciting – Classical Kids Live – Gershwin’s Magic Key – October 22–23, 2023 Sunday, October 22 at 4:00 p.m. Monday, October 23 at 9:00 a.m. & 10:45 a.m. Masterworks 2-Unity, Veterans and America – Saturday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. Holiday Pops – Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 & 7:00 p.m. Cirque de la Symphonie – Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. Family Fun – Sunday, January 28 at 3:00 p.m. Masterworks 3-Symphony goes to the Movies – Saturday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. Masterworks 4-The Firebird &amp; Bohemian Delight – Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Masterworks 5-Verdi Requiem – Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Side-By-Side with Carmel HS – Sunday, April 21 at 4:00 p.m. Jeans ‘n Classics “Soulful” – Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.