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On Thanksgiving Weekend, Over Thirty Local Musicians Together with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Re-create the Legendary Night of The Band’s Last Waltz

Communications & Media Manager 
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance 
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138 

DAYTON, OH (November 5, 2018) – On Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 8 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present the second concert in the 2018–2019 Dayton Freight Rockin’ Orchestra Series, The Last Waltz Live with the Dayton Philharmonic. For this performance, Dayton Philharmonic welcomes over thirty local musicians from Dayton to the Schuster Center Stage for an outstanding night of music. The DPAA 2018-2019 Vistas Season Rockin’ Orchestra Media Sponsor is WYSO.

This Thanksgiving weekend, a local tradition continues...with a twist. 

The Last Waltz was the final live performance by The Band. On November 25, 1976, the musical group set out to say farewell to their audience, and they invited various guests to join them in doing so. The Band and their guests—who included Dr. John, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan—played a set list featuring Band standards, such as “The Weight,” “Evangeline,” “I Shall Be Released, “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In,” and “Who Do You Love?” 

The Last Waltz lives on thanks to Martin Scorsese, who was on hand that night to film this epic concert. Scorsese released his film The Last Waltz in 1978, and this year marks its incredible 40 year anniversary, a landmark milestone in the world of cinema. The legacy of The Last Waltz has only gained traction in the years since that electric night on stage and the subsequent film release. 

Decades later in Dayton, Ohio, as in cities all across the nation, an annual tradition has blossomed. Now, during the week of Thanksgiving, local musicians gather together to jam and revive the magic of that legendary night. The principal organizer responsible for bringing The Last Waltz to the stage each year in Dayton is Jeff Opt, an integral part of the Dayton music scene and one of the people responsible for converting the Old Yellow Cab Tavern into a local art space, music venue, and favorite spot for local food truck rallies.

So what is the “twist”? For the last several years in Dayton, thanks to the vision and direction of Jeff Opt, over thirty local musicians and vocalists have taken the stage by storm on Thanksgiving weekend to re-create the Band’s legendary last concert. But this year, the concert will include a layer of extravagance never before experienced. This performance marks the first time The Last Waltz will include the rich, robust sound of a full symphonic orchestra. Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic are thrilled to be a part of this annual event and to be sharing the stage with these incredible Dayton area musicians: 

Core Band:
Patrick Himes, guitar; Rich Reuter, guitar; Phillip Caviness, bass; Jimmy Rogers, organ; Trey Stone, piano; and Steve Phelps, drums

Horn Section:
Kevin Court, saxophone; Eric Knorr, trumpet; Mike Depew, trumpet; Jeff Foster, saxophone; Dan Herford, saxophone; Gary King, trombone; and Tim Olt, tuba

Guest Performers:
Brian Baumgardner, acoustic guitar; Paige Beller, vocalist; Krys Blank, vocalist; Matt Byanski, vocalist; Harold Hensley, vocalist; Brian Hoeflich, vocalist; Sharon Lane, vocalist and piano; John Lardinois, violin;  Steve Makofka, accordion; Kristen McNabb, violin; Max Nunery, vocalist and guitar; David Payne, vocalist; Brian Spirk, mandolin; Charlie Tipton, vocalist; Tod Weidner, vocalist and guitar; and Gary Williams, vocalist

As Dr. John sang on that epic night in 1976, “Such a Night” this November 24 in Dayton is going to be!

Tickets for The Last Waltz Live with the Dayton Philharmonic range from $34 to $86 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit

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About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance 
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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