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The Springfield Symphony kicks off its 76th season the weekend of Sept.10-12 with a Beethoven Festival, featuring a classic film, fine food and two fabulous Beethoven symphonies. The Beethoven Festival opens Friday Sept.10 with a free screening of the Beethoven biopic "Immortal Beloved" starring Gary Oldham--that's in Drury University's Clara Thompson Hall at 7:00pm. Saturday Sept.11 at 7:30pm in the Juanita K. Hammons Hall at Missouri State University, Springfield Symphony Music Director Ron Spigelman will be joined by Boston Symphony Assistant Conductor Sean Newhouse for the first classical concert of the season featuring Beethoven's Symphony No.1 and the "Eroica," No.3. Then on Sunday Sept.12, Springfield Symphony members will join the Springfield/Branson Chefs Association in presenting "Brunch with Beethoven" at 11am at Oasis Inn & Convention Center, with food prepared by some of southwest Missouri's most renowned gourmet chefs. Tickets for the showing of "Immortal Beloved" Friday evening are free--you'll have to pay for the concert Saturday night and the Brunch on Sunday! Call the Symphony office at 864-6683 or visit www.springfieldmosymphony.org.

Springfield Little Theatre's season opens September 10-26 with the Tony-winning musical CATS by Andrew Lloyd Webber, directed by Lorianne Dunn. After opening Friday Sept.10 at 7:30pm at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut, CATS will play Thursday through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm, with a single Saturday matinee at 2:30pm scheduled for Sept.18. LT's season will also include "Treasure Island," Del Shore's white-trash comedy "Sordid Lives," "Miracle on 34th Street" in December; "Big River;" "Thoroughly Modern Millie;" "Chicago;" Larry Shue's "The Foreigner;" and "Children of Eden." For season ticket information call 869-1334 or visit www.springfieldlittletheatre.org.

The 20th annual Eureka Springs Woodcarvers Jamboree returns September 10 & 11 from 9am to 5pm both days. Woodcarvers from Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will gather under the pines in the Pine Mountain Village Shopping Center to display their wares and demonstrate their craft. For more information call toll-free 1(866) 947-4387.

From West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and beyond, bluegrass legends and neophytes alike will converge on Eureka Springs, Arkansas for the 8th annual Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival August 19-22. The entire weekend is FREE and open to the public. The festival opens with the "Watermelon Social" at 7:00pm August 19 in Basin Spring Park--folks will be able to gather in random groups to play bluegrass. The next morning, Aug.20, the first of 10 free shows that day in Basin Spring Park features the Hobnobbers. Following them will be the Cobb Family--all youngsters under age 16--along with the Roving Gamblers, the HillBenders, the Dragonmasters, and the Williams Family, who have performed at every Eureka Springs Bluegrass festival since its inception. Then on Aug.21st more free concerts during the dayin Bason Spring Park, and an evening concert at 7:30pm in the City Auditorium featuring Mr.Big, Arkansas Red, Tim Crouch, and Retro and Smiling. The festival has had to make a last-minute change regarding the weekend's headliner. Melvin Goins has just suffered a heart attack and is currently recuperating; replacing him on the bill Saturday night is bluegrass legend Mike Wilkins. The festival concludes Sunday Aug.22nd with one more free show--the Williams Family perform gospel music from 11am to 3pm in Basin Spring Park. For tickets and other information call toll-free 1(888) 582-2220, or visit www.eurekaspringsbluegrassfestival.com.

The Springfield Art Museum and Phelps Neighborhood Association present the "Phelps Helps" Concert Series, with members of "Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin" Thursday Aug.19 from 6 to 8pm on the outdoor stage at the Art Museum, right next to Phelps Grove Park. It's a free concert, but donations will be accepted to benefit a local charity. For more information call the Art Museum at 837-5700.

The King's Prairie Music Festival takes place in Monett Saturday Aug.14 from 5 to 9pm. It's a live outdoor concert with proceeds benefitting the preservation efforts for the King's Prairie one-room schoolhouse. Bring lawn chairs for seating; it's free but donations are appreciated. Food and pie concessions will be available. Sponsored by King's Prairie Community Association and Al Brumley Jr. For information call (417) 442-7910. The festival location is on Farm Road 2015 off Z Highway, a mile east of Monett.

Heart of the Ozarks Bluegrass Association in West Plains holds their 4th annual Fiddle Fest, Harmonica Howl, & Bluegrass Band Jam Friday and Saturday August 13 and 14 at the HOBA Park near West Plains. An open fiddle contest is held Friday evening and an open harmonica contest on Saturday, along with a bluegrass contest. For more information call the West Plains Welcome Center toll-free at 1(888) 256-8835.

The new Children's Music Academy of Springfield holds its grand opening Saturday August 14th from 10am to 1pm in the James River Business Center, 5335-M South Campbell, with an inflatable, popcorn and other snacks, helium balloons, and a drawing. Kids will be able to register for fall classes as well.

Missouri State University will hold the 13th annual Ozarks Celebration Festival the week of September 10-16. It's an entertaining and educational look at the region's culture and heritage, and is expected to feature more than 75 traditional artists and craftspeople with three entertainment stages featuring music (traditional, bluegrass & gospel), storytelling, traditional dance (including square, jig, contra and clogging), films, historical characters, exhibits and much more. Some of the region's finest artists and craftspeople will be on hand to demonstrate and display their creations, offering a number of items for sale. The annual "Concert Under the Stars and Ice-Cream Social" will kick off the festival Friday Sept.10 from 6 to 10:30pm in the Strong Hall outdoor amphitheatre, featuring The HillBenders, The Chapmans, and Dan Tyminski with Ronnie Bowman. For more information visit http://ocf.missouristate.edu.