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What would a Stanley Cup-style PSO parade look like?

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

In June, when I was tweeting about the Penguins' Stanley Cup parade, Pittsburgh composer John Arrigo-Nelson jokingly replied, "This reminded me of the parade the city threw for the PSO when they returned from their European tour last year."

Well, a few Twitter messages later, John, who works with contemporary music group Alia Musica Pittsburgh, sent me a short, Onion-esque news story about a Pittsburgh Symphony welcome-home parade. Turns out he's contemplated the intersection of classical music, sports and comedy before. 

"My friend and I have an idea (more a joke-concept) for a sports-classical music mashup podcast and blog called Pardon the Intermezzo," he told me.

The PSO's 2017 European festivals tour starts Aug. 28, so now is a great time for Pittsburghers to start planning for the orchestra's parade. It's bound to attract the 650,000 people who supposedly showed up for the Penguins' parade. 

Here's how John imagines the PSO parade will go (and feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments): 

It was a spectacle with which Pittsburghers have become quite familiar: this city's beloved champions proudly rolling down Grant Street in resplendent victory after another successful season. Even as the cheers and chants from last year's parade were still reverberating, the time had come, yet again, to celebrate the triumphant return of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from its riveting European tour.

On this sunny and hot afternoon, an estimated 800,000 people showed up to see their heroes in person, and to catch a glimpse of Lord Haydn's Cup.

"We made the trip up from North Carolina to be here for this," said Dale Kovarsko, a Pittsburgh transplant and die-hard PSO fan. "We loaded up the minivan and put the Strauss Tone Poems CD on repeat and made it in one shot."

While PSO fans were certainly revved up for the celebration, it was clear that the players, too, were thrilled to be back on home turf again. Noted for being laser-focused and locked in all season long, PSO music director Manfred Honek, who conducted the orchestra in five European countries, could finally let loose after reaching the summit yet again. As fans chanted his name in unison, the elated Austrian conductor ripped off his tuxedo jacket and hoisted the Cup high for all to behold, lowering it only to take a big, splashing gulp.

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