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Dogs put on 'command' performance at Pittsburgh orchestra audition

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 11:06 p.m.
 

Ten sit, but only five stay.

On the line: a chance to “perform” vocals with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

And a treat.

“We thought it would be something fun and exciting for him to try,” said Debra Cutshall, owner of Bailey, a 13-year-old poodle.

Bailey was one of five dogs selected on Tuesday for a performance of the “Hunting Horn Symphony” on June 9 at Point State Park. The dogs are expected to bark on command in collaboration with four of the symphony's horn soloists.

Cutshall, of Greensburg, said she taught Bailey to speak on command.

Lucy McCloskey of South Park said she didn't use hand signals for her shepherd, Sonny, but rather taught him to speak on a “bark” command.

Ronald Schneider, one of the symphony's horn soloists, knows what it takes to make those signals work, having performed the same piece in 2004 in Heinz Hall.

“You have to get the dog to make noise beginning and stopping with hand signals,” Schneider said. “You want a nice chorus, not just one yap.”

The 10 dogs were pulled from 11 video submissions in which owners had to demonstrate not only that their pet has pipes, but that they could follow commands to sit and pause.

Those commands can be learned, said Dan Rossi, executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania and one of the judges.

“It can be done, ,” he said. “It can be a little difficult. ”

Bailey and Sonny will join Jetty, Grizzly and Sergeant Preston as the performing pooches.

“He froze up, but I'm going to work with him,” McCloskey said. “I'll always have a recording of him. When I lose him, I can always hear him.”

Fawzi Haimor, resident conductor for the symphony, said it was the first time he'd judged a dog audition.

“Each one is so talented in its own way,” he said. “It's amazing, the different dog sounds there can be.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Add Megan Guza to your Google+ circles.

Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Debra Cutshall, of Greensburg, signals to her poodle Bailey to bark in time to Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Debra Cutshall, of Greensburg, signals to her poodle Bailey to bark in time to Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Martha Kind of Squirrel Hill gives commands to her dog Leo to bark in time with a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Martha Kind of Squirrel Hill gives commands to her dog Leo to bark in time with a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - A final group of dogs takes to the stage at Heinz Hall as their owners signal to bark in time with Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' during the dogs' audition at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The jury, which consisted of members of the PSO, Animal Rescue League, and Western PA Humane Society, picked five dogs to join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in their performance of the song for the Three Rivers Arts Festival this June.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>A final group of dogs takes to the stage at Heinz Hall as their owners signal to bark in time with Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' during the dogs' audition at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The jury, which consisted of members of the PSO, Animal Rescue League, and Western PA Humane Society, picked five dogs to join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in their performance of the song for the Three Rivers Arts Festival this June.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver (far left), of Mount Lebanon, listens closely as Debra Cutshall (center), of Greensburg, signals to her poodle Bailey to bark in time to Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. In the front right hand corner, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra resident conductor Fawzi Haimor, of Upper Saint Clair, gives hand gestures to signal when the dog should be barking in relation to the music.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver (far left), of Mount Lebanon, listens closely as Debra Cutshall (center), of Greensburg, signals to her poodle Bailey to bark in time to Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony,' during the dog's audition to perform the piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. In the front right hand corner, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra resident conductor Fawzi Haimor, of Upper Saint Clair, gives hand gestures to signal when the dog should be barking in relation to the music.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Dogs wait backstage with their owners at Heinz Hall to audition to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Dogs wait backstage with their owners at Heinz Hall to audition to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver (right) of Mount Lebanon, gives bloodhound Otis a scratch before the dog's audition to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. Holding on to Otis is his owner Kim Briglia of Bethel Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver (right) of Mount Lebanon, gives bloodhound Otis a scratch before the dog's audition to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. Holding on to Otis is his owner Kim Briglia of Bethel Park.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Martha Kind of Squirrel Hill waits backstage at Heinz Hall with her dog Leo alongside other dogs and dog owners after their auditions at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The group was awaiting the jury's decision on which dogs will perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June. Leo, alongside four other dogs, finally made the cut.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Martha Kind of Squirrel Hill waits backstage at Heinz Hall with her dog Leo alongside other dogs and dog owners after their auditions at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The group was awaiting the jury's decision on which dogs will perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June. Leo, alongside four other dogs, finally made the cut.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver of Mount Lebanon, laughs as a dog takes the stage at Heinz Hall during auditions for a set of dogs to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn player Bob Lauver of Mount Lebanon, laughs as a dog takes the stage at Heinz Hall during auditions for a set of dogs to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) horn player Bob Lauver (far left), of Mount Lebanon, talks with fellow jury members Dan Rossi (second left), Executive Director of the Animal Rescue League, Kristen Lane, Director of Marketing and Public Relations of the Western PA Humane Society, and PSO horn player Ron Schneider, of Mount Lebanon, as they discuss the auditions of a handful of dogs at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The jury was trying to pick four or five dogs to perform with the PSO at the Three Rivers Arts Festival during a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) horn player Bob Lauver (far left), of Mount Lebanon, talks with fellow jury members Dan Rossi (second left), Executive Director of the Animal Rescue League, Kristen Lane, Director of Marketing and Public Relations of the Western PA Humane Society, and PSO horn player Ron Schneider, of Mount Lebanon, as they discuss the auditions of a handful of dogs at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. The jury was trying to pick four or five dogs to perform with the PSO at the Three Rivers Arts Festival during a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony.'
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Donna Bodnar (left), of Ingram, holds on to her dog Anuka's leash as she listens backstage to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Katie McGuinness explain the auditioning process for dogs at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Donna Bodnar (left), of Ingram, holds on to her dog Anuka's leash as she listens backstage to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Katie McGuinness explain the auditioning process for dogs at Heinz Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Downtown. A group of dogs were auditioning to perform a segment of Leopold Mozart's 'Hunting Horn Symphony' with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which will be performed this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June.
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