The Plaza de Las Cruces downtown was filled to near capacity on Friday night, Sept. 8, as the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra (LCSO) opened its 2017-18 season with a salute to local veterans and a host of patriotic tunes for its Pops Under the Stars concert.

Maestro Dr. Lonnie Klein conducted the 70-piece orchestra, which was joined for much of the evening by the 100-member New Mexico State University Masterworks Chorus, under the direction of John Hamilton.

The featured soloist was coloratura Diane Penning, whom Klein met when he was guest-conducting the Traverse City, Michigan, Symphony Orchestra in 2003.

LCSO member Janet Blair also sang during the concert. (Visit https://janetblair. Performances included both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful,” along with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “The William Tell Overture,” “You Raise Me Up,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Impossible Dream,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Climb Every Mountain” and “Time to Say Goodbye.”

LCSO’s next performance will be its Classics 1 concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the NMSU Music Building. The featured soloist will be pianist Micha Dichter. Performances will include Rossini’s “Overture to the Barber of Seville,” Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8” and Gershwin’s “Concerto in F.”

Single-performance tickets are $35, $40 or $45. Season tickets are $165, $200 and $240.

Klein’s “Spotlight Luncheon” begins at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Paisano Café, 1740 Calle de Mercado, in the Bulletin Plaza. Tickets are $20 for each lunch or $96 for a season pass.

For more information, call 575-646-3709 or email Visit Mike Cook may be reached at