The Columbus Symphony Orchestra looks forward to a bigger season — literally.

The city’s mostly volunteer, no-audition ensemble has grown from a base of about 45 musicians to nearly 60 thus far for the new campaign kicking off Oct. 16 at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

So perhaps some future rehears- als could be characterized as tight in more ways than the harmonious sound.

“It’s a great problem to have,” Josh Aerie said.

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He’s the South Bend resident who became the orchestra’s new music director last season.

For Aerie’s tryout concert in February 2015, he recruited several new, local players with enticing pitch for fresh musicians.

There’s room for more strings players, Aerie said, stressing the importance of giving nonprofessional performers the chance to play and create.

The season-opening concert will even give symphony players a chance to create a few seasonal goosebumps with an afternoon titled “Boo! Things That Go Bump in the Orchestra.” By Aerie’s estimation, even musical tricks — that is, tunes with a scary foreboding — often can be a treat.

One piece, “Funeral March of a Marionette,” served as theme music to the TV show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Another, Antonin Dvorak’s “The Water Goblin,” revolves around a girl ensnared by a sinister creature.

“I feel that music always tells a story, one way or another,” Aerie said. “And the way it tells a story actually is individualized to each of us via the sounds.

“We have remember that, as kids, those old fairy tales like the Brothers Grimm were very dark. And they often did not end well.

“And the way people often have told stories to their children has included a moral, of course, but also sometimes it has included a little bit of a fear factor.”

French horn player Patrick Vogt mentioned that some of that comes into play during the opening concert’s presentation of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night On Bald Mountain,” in which a collection of instruments progressively join in to create a chaotic frenzy.

“It brings about a rather foreboding melody,” Vogt said.

The musician also mentioned that the concert will included a few surprises and twist and turns that he would prefer remain in the shadows for now.

“There are loud noises that suddenly surface when you might not expect them, almost like a ghost popping out,” Vogt said.

Vogt, a symphony volunteer performer who also plays and sings at paid performances in and around Indianapolis, still firmly believes the symphony serves a specific purpose in a community that also has the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, a growing professional ensemble.

“There are very few groups I can think of that provide musicians such an opportunity to play high-quality symphonic music while still enabling them to pursue other career paths and life goals,” said Vogt, a Columbus native who works for an Indianapolis firm.

The Columbus Symphony season

All concerts at 3:30 p.m. at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus, unless otherwise noted. Season theme is “Adventures in Great Music.”

  • Oct. 16: “Boo! Things that Go Bump in the Orchestra,” featuring Antonin Dvorak’s “The Water Goblin” and other works.
  • Dec. 4: “A CSO Holiday,” featuring an abridged version of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”
  • March 5: “Hometown Talent,” featuring the Andrews Strings Studio and the winner of the upcoming first annual CSO Youth Concerto Competition.
  • April 30: “Music Americana,” featuring Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”
  • 7:30 p.m. June 11 at Mill Race Park: “Hail to the Heroes,” featuring Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 Eroica.

Tickets: $10 in advance at csoindiana.org or $15 at the door for adults; $5 in advance or $10 at the door for students ages 12-18 and senior citizens; free for children younger than 12 accompanied by an adult.

Information: csoindiana.org and the Facebook page at Columbus Symphony Orchestra Indiana.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.