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Bits & Pieces: Waterfront Concert returns

After a year hiatus, the Oregon Symphony’s season will open with the Waterfront Concert, Thursday, Aug. 28, at Waterfront Park.

It’ll start at 2:30 p.m. rather than the traditional 5 p.m. and “it’s going to be something very special,” says Carlos Kalmar, symphony music director. Featured groups are Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, 234th Army Band of the Oregon National Guard, Hillsboro School District Mariachi Una Voz, Bravo Youth Orchestras and Portland Taiko.

OBT’s program includes a performance of “Grand Pas De Deux” from Balanchine’s “The Nutrcracker,” featuring principal dancers Haiyan Wu and Chauncey Parsons; Bizet’s “Carmen” with baritone Alexander Elliott highlights Portland Opera’s upcoming 50th anniversary season.

The symphony expects about 15,000 people to attend. For info: www.orsymphony.org.

OBT executives

Kevin Irving, Oregon Ballet Theatre artistic director, has been signed to a new, three-year contract, and OBT made the big step of hiring, finally, an executive director, Dennis Buehler.

OBT reports a strong 2013-14 performance — a 28 percent increase in single ticket sales, 13 percent increase in contributors — has led to the contract extension for Irving and hiring of Buehler from the Milwaukee Ballet.

Buehler, who served as executive director in Milwaukee for seven years, joins the company in September.

All this happens on the eve of OBT’s 25th anniversary season, which begins with “OBT Exposed,” 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day, Aug. 25 to 28 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, featuring technique classes and rehearsals with choreographer Nicolo Fonte. It’s for a world premiere in October.

Work for Art

The Regional Arts & Culture Council has released its Work for Art 2013-14 campaign results, and it raised $776,007 from 1,965 donors, slightly better numbers than the previous campaign. The majority of money raised comes from workplace giving campaigns. Portland General Electric, for the third consecutive year, raised the most money ($85,794), Burgerville won an award for highest employee participation, and Cambia Health Solutions for best new company.

The top 15 companies: PGE, The Standard, Cambia, NW Natural, Burgerville, OHSU, State of Oregon employees, ZGF Architects, KeyBank, City of Portland employees, Stoel Rives, Multnomah County employees, Metro, Umpqua Bank, Portland Timbers.

Carole Morse, former president of the PGE Foundation, received recognition for her role as a leading champion of Work for Art in the past eight years, helping raise $5.4 million.

Organizers want to top $790,000 in the next campaign.

For info: www.workforart.org.

Third Rail moving

One of Portland’s better theater companies, Third Rail Repertory, has announced plans to stage plays at CoHo Theater, moving from Winningstad Theatre in January 2015 — in hopes that CoHo will remain its home for years to come.

Meanwhile, the 2014-15 season features: “Middletown,” Sept. 26-Oct. 19; “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Dec. 5-Jan. 11; “The Night Alive,” Feb. 20-March 14; “Belleville,” March 27-April 18; “Static,” April 24-May 17.

For info: www.thirdrailrep.org.

BodyVox’s season

BodyVox, one of the city’s renowned dance companies, has released its 2014-15 season schedule:

“BloodyVox: Nightmare on Northrup,” Halloween classic, Oct. 23 to Nov. 1; “Firewall,” technology meeting illusion, by Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, Dec. 4-13; “Nat’s Farm,” by the Eric Skinner/Daniel Kirk ensemble, Feb. 12-21; “Cosmosis,” an edgy marriage of dance/theater/film/chamber music, May 21-30. For info: www.bodyvox.com.

Dew Tour

A reminder, it’s coming — to downtown Portland. The Portland stop on the Toyota City Championships takes place Aug. 16 and 17 on Southwest Broadway between Jefferson and Salmon streets. The events are Streetstyle (skateboard and BMX), BMX Dirt Session and Skateboard Best Trick. It’s a free event, just find a good spot to view. For info: www.dewtour.com.

Nu Shooz performing

The live band performs at two free shows in August — together for the first time in 24 years: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Dragging the Gut Festival, McMinnville; 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Plazapalooza Concert Series, Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

In a press release, Nu Shooz says: “This (OCC) show is really a ‘circle of life’ kind of moment for us, as the last time we played with our full band was at the opening of the Oregon Convention Center — 24 years ago.”

For info: www.nushoozmusic.com.

New opera

Portland nonprofit Anima Mundi Productions will put on a new opera “The Canticle of the Black Madonna,” about a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder returning from Afghanistan to his wife during the 2010 gulf oil spill in coastal Louisiana. It will premiere Sept. 5 and 6 at the Newmark Theatre.

An introductory media event will be held this week. A workshopped performance at the University of Oregon received rave reviews from veterans and operatic artists.

New musical festival

It’s called Project Pabst, by Pabst Brewing Co. and festival producer Superfly, and it’ll be held Sept. 26 to 28 at Zidell Yards at the South Waterfront, featuring (in the main event) Modest Mouse, Tears For Fears, The Violent Femmes, GZA (performing “Liquid Swords”), Lord Huron, Rocket From the Crypt, Phosphorescent, Red Fang, Shabazz Places and more, and (in night shows) Guided By Voices, Constantines, High On Fire, Menomena, Surfer Blood, Pure Country Fold, Small Black and more.

Tickets are on sale at www.projectpabst.com.

Drumroll for Taiko’s 20th

Drumming and dancing company Portland Taiko will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with an event Aug. 9 at Washington Park Amphitheater. The group has undergone many changes.

Michelle Fujii, longtime artistic director, has moved on to other artistic projects, leading to the organization’s reorganization for financial sustainability. The group aims to make connections with other taiko groups in the Pacific Northwest, secure long-term fundraising, and strengthen development.