By Katie Lovett
---- — It’s Valentine’s weekend and Symphony by the Sea wants to spread the love — of classical music that is.
The musicians will offer audiences an afternoon of romance on Sunday as they perform their annual February concert at The Governor’s Academy in Byfield. The performance includes the music of Tchaikovsky, Villa Lobos, Brahms and Gershwin.
“The programming is just a little bit more relaxed because it’s Valentine’s Day,” said Marblehead’s Beverly Clark, the president of the symphony’s board of directors.
Conductor and director Don Palma will include waltz music and lighter selections that will appeal to audiences, she added.
The program includes Gershwin’s “Five Songs,” Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C major” and Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3.”
As part of their ongoing mission this season, the North Shore-based musicians are aiming to spread awareness of the professional orchestra in Newburyport and to gain the attention of more local classical music fans.
For years, the 35-member orchestra has performed its shows in both Newburyport and Marblehead each season. The symphony is performing its Valentine’s concert at Marblehead’s Abbot Hall tonight.
“We’re very excited to be in Newburyport,” Clark said. “We love the community. Newburyport is a community that values music, and we’re glad we can contribute to that.”
The concert offers couples a chance to enjoy a classical music concert that rivals performances in Boston or any metropolitan venue, Clark added. It’s also an opportunity to introduce children and young adults to classical music. The Symphony offers discounted prices for children accompanied by an adult.
Clark said the symphony is hearing positive feedback this season as audiences relate to the musical selections chosen for each performance and enjoy works by familiar, mainstream composers.
“It just feels that the program is right on target this season with what people want to hear,” Clark said.
Tickets are $35 per person. Tickets may be purchased at The Book Rack in Newburyport, at the door or on the Symphony by the Sea Web site at www.symphonybythesea.org.
What: Symphony by the Sea "Romance is in the Hall" When: Sunday, 3 p.m. Where: The Governor's Academy, Elm Street, Byfield How: Tickets are $35 for adults, $5 for students K-12. Tickets can be purchased online at www.symphonybythesea.org or at The Book Rack on State Street, Newburyport.