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HSO Wants To Make Your Dog A Star For Its 'Playing With Dogs' Concert

Britten had a dachshund; Wagner, a Newfoundland named Russ. Pictures reveal that Debussy's collie was probably way happier than its owner.

"Playing With Dogs," an upcoming pops concert by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, could include a short video clip of your dog, preferably doing something silly.

Submit a video of your mutt (15 seconds or less, shot horizontally) to dogs@hartfordsymphony.org by April 3, and the best clips will be compiled into a montage and shown during a May 20 concert at The Bushnell.

"They should be short video clips of people's beloved dogs doing funny things," says executive director Steve Collins, "whether it's a stupid pet trick or some other funny behavior."

Radio personality Renee DiNino will host the family-friendly show, which features some on-stage dog follies and a filmed sequence or two. Famed animal trainer and Connecticut native Bill Berloni, who trained the first dog (a rescue) to play Sandy in the original 1977 Broadway production of "Annie," has provided creative direction.

"We've partnered with Bill to bring dogs on stage and add some canine action to the concert program," Collins says. "There are going to be a lot of surprises."

Assistant conductor Adam Kerry Boyles will lead the orchestra through light classics and popular songs, "some of which will be directly related to dogs and some not," Collins says.

Although mixing canines with classical music seems unusual, Collins believes the program capitalizes on the emotional power of the orchestra and its ability to mirror how audience members feel about their pets.

"A lot of people are really excited about it," Collins says. "It's all really emotionally evocative music, whether it's introspective and contemplative or celebratory. That's really what this concert is about: Music is so emotionally powerful."

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra presents "Playing with Dogs" in Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $23. hartfordsymphony.org


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