Austin and Aubrie Bigley have been together for four years. They will celebrate their third wedding anniversary later this month, and are the proud parents of a 2-year-old daughter Evelyn. Both work full time and are active in their local church. Needless to say, life is never slow for this young couple.
Like many couples, especially with kids at home, finding time for just the two of them to be together can be difficult.
“There is always something going on - family, church, work - that there really just feels like there is no time,” commented Aubrie.
Prior to becoming parents, the Bigleys would go out nearly every other weekend, but when Evelyn was born premature things got a little trickier. Now that Evelyn is a little older and is not at risk, the Bigleys admit they have a little more flexibility to go out as a couple, but it’s still difficult. Now they find themselves trying to go out at least every three to four months.
“With having a two-year-old it’s really hard to connect in general and it’s exhausting, especially when you both work full-time,” commented Aubrie. “Finding time to be together, being able to have an adult conversation, and be fully present with one another without having a tiny distraction around your ankles is really important.”
So when the Bigleys had the opportunity to take a date night to the Ashland Symphony Orchestra’s season opening concert, From Sea to Shining Sea, they jumped at the opportunity.
Both Austin and Aubrie were involved in the arts growing up. Austin was involved heavily in choir programs at Lexington from elementary school through high school, while Aubrie played clarinet from 5th grade through high school at both Hillsdale and Ashland. As a result, they both have a great appreciation for the arts and music and were looking forward to an evening of quality entertainment.
Austin was particularly looking forward to a relaxing night the Ashland Symphony Orchestra offered.
He commented, “classical music isn’t really chaotic, for the most part, which is a very different vibe from our house.”
For these busy parents, the evening at the Ashland Symphony not only provided a high-quality date night to be together, but it offered an opportunity to step away from the chaos and noise of their daily lives and truly relax while enjoying a shared interest.
“The atmosphere was inviting and relaxing,” noted Austin. “They had hors d’oeuvres and drinks out before the show.”
He continued, “When you entered the auditorium, the lighting was relaxed as you sat down. It was a great atmosphere in general.”
In fact, both said the whole evening met and exceeded their expectations.
Austin said he expected a well-organized performance given the rich arts culture in both Ashland and Richland counties, but the entertainment combined with the atmosphere truly impressed him.
Aubrie loved the unexpected additions in the show, including performances by the Neos Dance Theatre and a nature-scene video that played along with the final piece, noting that they added an extra layer of entertainment that you wouldn’t normally expect to see at the Symphony.
Executive Director of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra, Martha Buckner, noted that not every concert includes a reception beforehand or extra additions like the season opener. However, they do make it a priority to try to incorporate guest artists of all kinds in several shows throughout the year to add to the symphony experience.
These additions are not only enjoyable for the concert-goer, but the artists love being included in the evening as well.
Choreographer and dancer with Neos Dance Theatre, Robert Wesner, was especially thankful after the performance, noting what an honor it was to be invited into kicking off Ashland Symphony’s 50th anniversary celebration. “What an honor and how beautifully ASO played tonight! I’m thrilled to have been a part of it,” commented Wesner.
This year’s concert series also features several guest conductors as long-standing Maestro, Arie Lipsky, resigned in August, due to health reasons.
Peter Stafford Wilson stepped in as the guest conductor for the season opener.
“I am still basking in the amazing event that happened last night on your stage!” commented Stafford Wilson. “I really enjoyed my time with your orchestra and the audience. I felt our rapport was unique, and I was most gratified by the results.”
From performer to conductor to concert-goer, the Ashland Symphony Orchestra experience definitely did not disappoint.
Austin and Aubrie recommend anyone looking for a peaceful and relaxing evening out to definitely check out the Ashland Symphony Orchestra.
“The symphony’s not what people think it would be or what our age (late 20’s/early 30’s) think that it is,” commented Aubrie. “It’s not stuffy or boring. Don’t knock it before you try it, and definitely don’t not go because you think you won’t like it. Give it a chance because you’ll never know.”
Ashland Symphony Orchestra will host its next concert, Fabulous Flutes and Franz, on Saturday, October 26. Click here to purchase tickets or view the upcoming season schedule.