Looking Ahead to the Boston Pops New Season with Bernadette Peters & More!
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by Joseph F. Panarello
Recently, conductor Keith Lockhart was joined by Bernadette Peters to present the schedule for the Boston Pops' Spring 2012 season. Peters was the guest during the Opening Night concert at Boston's beautiful Symphony Hall. As stellar as she is, Peters is only one of the sensational artists who have been scheduled to appear with the Boston Pops which is celebrating its 127th season. On June 5th, 6th and 7th, Broadway's Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley will perform "A Tribute to Cole Porter". American Idol's Melinda Doolittle will join Gospel singer Crystal Aitkin and Charles Floyd for the 20th Gospel Night Celebration on June 9th. Although many people know Steve Martin as a comic actor and playwright, he is also a very serious musician who will be bringing his bluegrass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, to play with the Pops on May 29th and 30th. Anne Hampton Callaway, who is one of the premier interpreters of the American Songbook will bring her unique stylings to what is being billed as "The Barbra Streisand Songbook" on May 15th and 16th. Singer Maureen McGovern will join the Pops to sing selections from her Broadway show LITTLE WOMEN as a tribute to the novel's author Louisa May Alcott.
Boston's favorite hometown heroes will be celebrated during the third week of Pops concerts. Fans will hear the music of baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and more in these Olympic and Boston sports-themed concerts. The Boston Pops will share the popular hits of competitive sports with the audiences who know best. Surprise cameos by local sports celebrities from the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and New England Revolution during each City of Champions performance are promised. (Will Tom Brady play percussion?) The Boston Pops will also unveil a special tribute to the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park. The group that has become closely identified with the Red Sox nation, The Dropkick Murphys will make their debut with the Pops and play their infectious tune "I'm Shipping Up To Boston".
The entire Pops season is billed as "Visions of America" and many of the spring season's Pops concerts will feature "Visions of America Photo-Symphonies" In these 'symphonies", striking photographic portraits of American life by photo-historIan Joseph Sohm are set to music by Roger Kellaway and the lyrics of songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The multi-media project will feature acclaimed vocalist Patti Austin on June 14th, 15th and 16th, as well as the voice of actor Clint Eastwood. At the May 9th Opening Concert, a sample of this was presented. As Maestro Lockhart led the orchestra through a majestic performance of George Gershwin's "Love Is Sweeping the Country" from OF THEE I SING, a photo essay of American life was crisply projected over the orchestra. The images were stunningly choreographed to the music and the result was nothing short of genius.
Music-loving photography buffs are welcomed to participate in this remarkable "Visions of America". They are encouraged to submit original photographs that capture the spirit of America, to firstname.lastname@example.org with their names, ages, location, and a brief caption. Selected photographs will be shown in concerts throughout the spring season and culminating in the evening of June 14th-16th.
The superb acoustics of Symphony Hall allows music lovers to savor the many textures that Lockhart brings out of this orchestra. The most delicate notes of a piano solo are easily heard in the most distant climes of this venerable hall, as are the eloquent passages performed by the string sections. Television and recordings can only present reasonable facsimiles of what this exceptional orchestra sounds like in their home. Go to www.bso.com for the complete schedule and to purchase tickets.