Summer Pops roster holds big names, diverse talent
By By John Lydon SPECIAL TO THE Union-Tribune
Friday, February 26, 2010 at midnightFILE – In this Aug. 26, 2009 file photo, pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein poses for a photograph in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, file)
Summer Pops 2010
July 2-4: Star Spangled Pops with Marvin Hamlisch
July 9, 10: Kool & the Gang
July 16, 17: ABBA Mania
July 23, 24: Michael Cavanaugh sings the music of Elton John … and more
July 30, 31: Motown’s Greatest Divas starring Radiance
Aug. 6, 7: Bravo Broadway Rocks!
Aug. 13, 14: LeAnn Rimes
Aug. 20, 21: Jodi Benson sings animated movie classics
Aug. 27, 28: Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Project
Sept. 3-5: 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular with violinist Chad Hoopes
June 26: Tux ’n Tennies Summer Bash
July 11: The Flying Karamazov Brothers
July 15: Viva Mariachi!
July 22: Distant Worlds: Music from “Final Fantasy”
July 29: Sha Na Na — 40th Anniversary Celebration
Aug. 1: Tiempo Libre — sizzling Cuban salsa
Aug. 8: Burt Bacharach
Aug. 15: Symphony on the Wild Side, special Centennial event at the San Diego Zoo
Aug. 19: Jodi Benson sings animated movie classics, On the Green at Grand Tradition, Fallbrook
Aug. 22: Pops Goes Classical — Passport to the World: A Night in France
Aug. 26: The Music of Queen: A Rock Symphony
Aug. 28: Symphony at Salk
Sept. 2: Symphony of Freedom, special Centennial event aboard the USS Midway Museum
July 3: Star Spangled Pops with Marvin Hamlisch for San Diego’s military, 1 p.m. at Embarcadero Marina Park South
July 18: Target Family Concert, 5:30 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion
Tickets and information
All weekend concerts are at 7:30 p.m. at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
All Friday, Saturday, and Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend concerts will conclude with fireworks.
Weekend concert subscriptions — ranging from $150-$720 for 10 concerts and $75-$375 for five concerts — are on sale now.
Single tickets ($17-$76) go on sale May 3. Ticket prices vary for the special concerts.
Call (619) 235-0804 or go to sandiegosymphony.com
It has been almost a year in the making, but the San Diego Symphony, about to celebrate its centennial, is ready to announce its Summer Pops programs.
With more than 30 Pops performances, the symphony is “going all out” this summer, from the dress-up, dress-down “Tux & Tennies” gala June 26, “all the way through to Labor Day, when we finish up with our 1812 Tchaikovsky spectacular,” said Edward “Ward” Gill, the orchestra’s executive director. In between come a host of old friends, variations on successful themes and bold initiatives.
A striking example of the latter is “Distant Worlds: Music From ‘Final Fantasy’ ” on July 22. This concert, which coincides with San Diego’s Comic-Con convention, will celebrate the music of the popular “Final Fantasy” video game.
And if you’re free Aug 1, you might head to Marina Park South, behind the Convention Center, to hear the Cuban salsa band Tiempo Libre performing from its latest CD, “Bach in Havana.”
“We want everybody to come down and share this whole great period of having a symphony (that’s) the first one in California to become 100 years old,” Gill said.
After the Tux & Tennies gala comes a highlight of the traditional Pops, the July 2-4 “Star Spangled Pops” programs led by composer and Winter Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch.
Hamlisch is enthusiastic about the Summer Pops roster.
“There is something for everyone throughout the entire summer,” he said.
“Of course, my personal favorite is that I get to spend the Fourth of July weekend in San Diego and our great patriotic lineup of guests.”
Summer Pops conductor Matthew Garbutt is equally upbeat.
“We pulled out a lot of stops,” Garbutt said. “There’re some really big name artists and really diverse talent coming this summer.”
A giant among popular composers will be coming Aug. 8. Burt Bacharach and a trio of singers will perform hits from his songbook, including “Walk on By,” “Say a Little Prayer,” “This Guy’s in Love With You,” “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Country-crossover star LeAnn Rimes will perform Aug. 13-14.
“I’ve been looking forward to that for a long, long time,” Garbutt said.
The Summer Pops also will bring Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” singing Disney classics, and Michael Cavanaugh singing the music of Elton John; Sha Na Na with a 40th anniversary celebration; Kool and the Gang; the Flying Karamazov Brothers, with an evening of comedy, juggling and music; Mariachi Champaña Nevin and Mariachi Chula Vista; Radiance singing a program called “Motown’s Greatest Divas”; ABBA Mania doing an ABBA tribute; Michael Feinstein with a Sinatra program; and a Queen tribute band.
Broadway fans will be happy to hear that Hugh Panaro is returning — after stealing the “Bravo Broadway Now” show last year — to do a new show with three other actor-singers.
For classical music lovers, there is “Passport to the World: A Night in France,” an evening of music by Saint-Saëns, Bizet and Fauré. As a special treat, the 15-year-old violin prodigy Chad Hoopes will perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in the Summer Pops closer.
“This is a real rising, up-and-coming young star, and we’re very, very fortunate to be able to get him,” Garbutt said.
Were all of this not enough, the San Diego Symphony will perform a flurry of summer concerts in addition to the Pops. On July 1, it will present a Pops preview for donors, and Hamlisch will conduct a free military concert July 3. On July 18, Target will sponsor a concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. “Symphony on the Wild Side,” a special centennial event with a concert, buffet dinner and activities, is planned for mid-August at the San Diego Zoo.
The Jodi Benson concert will be previewed Aug. 19 in Fallbrook; a Salk concert is scheduled for Aug 28; and, in another centennial event, the orchestra will perform in a gala on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum on Sept 2.
Gill said that good things keep coming the orchestra’s way.
“Bridgepoint Education has come on as a major sponsor,” he said. “So the Summer Pops will now be called the Bridgepoint Education Summer Pops.”
Last year, the San Diego Symphony was re-categorized by the American League of Orchestras into its top tier, which includes ensembles like the New York or Los Angeles Philharmonic, “and that brings certain obligations,” Gill said.
“Now is the time to really make a statement, get out there. We don’t think that cutting back is the way to build a stronger and better symphony. … We push all the time. We’re constantly moving forward, and the community seems to be stepping up.”