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Homegrown talent highlight of program

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Pianist Garrett Myers’ family moved here from Tennessee when he was 11.

“But I still call Columbus home,” he said, speaking by phone from Bloomington, where he pursues a master’s in music at Indiana University.

Myers stands among a number of performers with Columbus ties for a mostly homegrown, new Columbus Indiana Philharmonic season. “The Phil Brings It Home” kicks off Sept. 22 with the prestigious Canadian Brass. Every date afterward highlights an artist with a strong local link — and an equally strong high profile on the national music scene.

The lineup includes soprano Jane Dutton, who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, and singing sisters Marja and Chasten Harmon, who’ve recently hit the big-time in major Broadway shows. All three are Columbus natives.

“I had been looking for some time at a season focusing on local performers who have gone on to wonderful careers in other places,” said David Bowden, philharmonic music director. “We’re bringing them back to strut their stuff.”

Bowden started conversations with some of the artists three years ago to begin to grapple with details.

“They all want to share their gifts with their home community,” Bowden said.

The season features a generous spotlight on youth, too, in an

industry that has connected for years with older audiences. For instance, the Harmons and sax player Cam Collins, who will perform at the Feb. 2 concert, all are in their 20s. Same for Myers and violinist Susie Park, who has become a favorite of Bowden’s with all three of his orchestras (he also leads the Carmel Symphony and the Terre Haute Symphony).

In fact, the maestro mentioned that the philharmonic wants to attract the younger audience without alienating longtime, older ticket buyers who form the base of the ensemble’s support.

“We are certainly hoping that the young professionals in town will sit up and take notice (of the schedule),” Bowden said. “We’re saying to them and others, ‘This music is fun. This music is exciting.’”

Philharmonic General Manager Brigitte Halvorsen said she believes the orchestra can please a wider demographic.

“We want the music to be accessible to everyone,” she said.

Apparently, plenty of area residents already have decided they’ll like what they hear. The orchestra recently topped the 2011-12 season ticket total of 620 with 665 packages sold, with more inquiries incoming nearly every day.

“That’s definitely a good sign,” Halvorsen said.

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