The musician sounds more like an Olympic athlete when he talks about his preparation.

Speed. He’s working on his speed.

Eric Jarboe laughed. He knows that refined culture will meet down-home fun when he basks in a solo performance at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s “Hometown Talent” concert Sunday at The Commons downtown.

He will play a breakneck-paced Antonio Vivaldi lute concerto — on his hammered dulcimer, given that lutes are about as common as Edsels these days.

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“It’ll probably be a what-on-earth-is-that moment for a lot of people,” said Jarboe, normally the orchestra’s double bass player but also a longtime dulcimer player in a bluegrass band.

What the event represents is music director Josh Aerie’s willingness to raise a baton to new ways to highlight his multi-faceted, mostly volunteer ensemble — and new ways to attract and entertain audiences.

“It’s fantastic,” Aerie said of Jarboe’s piece to be backed by the strings section.

Three other orchestra members will be spotlighted Sunday: Clarinetist Becky Grelle will perform Aaron Copland’s clarinet concerto; violinist Kathryn Tuttle will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3; and trumpeter Paul Hunt will present Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s trumpet concerto.

Also, students from Andrews Strings Studio will play alongside orchestra members on two numbers as part of the concert’s theme. Symphony violinist Laura Andrews is their teacher.

The group performed before the last symphony concert Dec. 3.

“I think it’s pretty ambitious (for them),” Aerie said. “There’s a fair amount of technical challenge in terms of notes and rhythm. And there’s a lot of challenge in the fact that they each are very different pieces.”

Tuba player and symphony board president Chris Clerc mentioned that the “Hometown Talent” concert last year featured a bass trombone solo.

“People had a lot of fun with it,” Clerc said. “You almost never get to see something like that.”

In December, Aerie programmed a Trans Siberian Orchestra medley, complete with electric guitar, for the Christmas concert. Such moves have been significantly uncommon for the normally traditionally ensemble that is among the state’s oldest. So, to say that Aerie is instrumental in the symphony’s willingness to branch out seems an understatement.

“I’m always looking for opportunities to feature creative performances,” he said. “Whether it’s on TV or social media or somewhere else, if we simply look around there’s a wealth of people doing really interesting things in music, and in all walks of life.”

He also mentioned the importance of incorporating new elements when he was first named music director before the 2015-16 season.

And Aerie said giving some of his players a small way to shine in this annual concert is a wonderful new tradition.

An original plan to include the winner of the orchestra’s second annual Youth Concerto Competition has been delayed until the June concert to give applicants more time — until March 15 — to apply for the honor.

“It’s a great way to showcase and give recognition to the talent and dedication of the musicians within our orchestra and within our community as well,” Aerie said.

If you go

Who: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert, “Hometown Talent,” featuring solos from four of its members.

When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, available at the door or at Those younger than 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.


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