The Clarence Summer Orchestra's 2012 season begins Sunday and touches off five weeks of classics, pops and even an evening of Disney for the kids.

This is an eminent orchestra full of well-known local musicians, including some from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1996, its music director has been Israeli-born Arie Lipsky, former resident conductor with the BPO. Currently he is the music director of the Ann Arbor Symphony.

This year, two high-profile BPO musicians will be stepping into the Clarence spotlight to solo with the orchestra.

Roman Mekinulov, the BPO's principal cellist, is playing Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 on July 15. In the airy spirit of summer, the concert also includes two movements from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and a few songs by the Beatles.

On July 22, Michael Ludwig, the BPO's concertmaster, is soloing in Mozart's popular Violin Concerto No. 5, nicknamed the "Turkish" for an exotic interlude in the last movement. Perhaps in tribute to Mozart's birthplace of Salzburg, the concert also includes a medley from "The Sound of Music."

The first concert features Helen Welch singing jazz and show tunes including "Over the Rainbow," "Fever" and an Ella Fitzgerald medley. The last orchestra performance is a family concert, with excerpts from shows including "Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast."

Finishing the season is a big band program featuring Alex Rene's Big Swing Band. This is a kind of retro treat because there is a dance floor and, as organizers point out, patrons can take advantage of an authentic dance band sound.

A chicken barbecue will take place at 5 p.m. before the July 22 concert, sponsored by the Clarence Rotary Club to benefit the Clarence Concert Association. Tickets are $9 in advance and $10 on July 22; they can be purchased at the hospitality table.

A community reception follows the concert July 29.

All concerts are at 7 p.m. in Clarence Town Park. The concerts are free, as is parking. Here is the schedule:

*Sunday: "Bring on the Divas," with soloist Helen Welch.

*July 15: "Beethoven, Beatles and Beyond," with soloist Roman Mekinulov.

*July 22: "Classics and Broadway," with violinist Michael Ludwig.

*July 29: "Disney Comes to Clarence," youth concert.

*Aug. 5: "Dancing Under the Stars," with Alex Rene's Big Band.



Clarence Summer Orchestra

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sundays

WHERE: Clarence Town Park, 10405 Main St., Clarence (rain location: Clarence Middle School, 10150 Greiner Road)