California Pops Presents SWINGTIME AT THE POPS
California Pops Orchestra, celebrating it's 30th season as the country's only all-request pops orchestra, joins forces with the Black Tie Big Band to perform Swingtime at the Pops at Flint Center for the Performing Arts. The Pops' Great American Big Band tribute and a perennial audience favorite features the hits of the 30's, 40's and beyond - when swing was the thing! This concert includes masters of yesteryear such as Ellington, Miller, Dorsey, Goodman, Artie Shaw as well as pieces from newer composers and musicians with the Big Band sound.
Swingtime at the Pops will be performed on Sunday, March 24th, 2019 at 3pm. Tickets are $20-55, (standard ticket service fees apply), the public can visit http://www.ticketmaster.com or in person at the Flint Box Office Tues-Fri 10-4pm at a reduced service fee. Free 20 minute parking is available in the Flint Garage for ticket purchasers.
Carly Honfi first performed with California Pops Orchestra in 2013, and has been a favorite of Pops' audiences ever since. She's also been seen locally with South Bay Musical Theatre in Jerry's Girls and as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, as well as singing in their annual musical showcase, Broadway by the Decade, for many years.
Tenor Matthew Hall continues to enchant Pops' audiences with his vocal talent for the Big Band hits of Sinatra, Tex Beneke and Michael Buble. Hall was seen as Jinx in Forever Plaid with South Bay Musical Theatre as well as in The Drowsy Chaperone with Sunnyvale Community Players. He also appeared in the ongoing musical review Broadway by the Decade (1920's). Venaas describes Hall as, very, very talented, is passionate about this music and is fearless, up for any idea I throw at him.
The 65-piece California Pops Orchestra will be joined for this two-hour show by the Black Tie Jazz Band, which has delighted big band audiences throughout the Bay Area. From the grand hotel ballrooms of San Francisco to the stage at Davies Symphony Hall, the Black Tie Jazz Band has brought the Big Band Era to life with sparkling arrangements of the American music that kept a nation energized in the 30's, 40's, and beyond. This is the band San Francisco icon Herb Caen called that great swingin' band.
Seen on the big screen in the movie Swing, the Black Tie Jazz Band includes violins and cello in its usual ranks, just like the Glenn Miller Army Air Corps band when they recorded the morale-boosting V-disks for our fighting forces. This band makeup allows them to perform not only the original big band charts but also the vast number of Broadway, Hollywood, and vocal arrangements that sound best with a lush compliment of strings. Conductor and emcee Kim Venaas leads both the Black Tie Big Band and the California Pops in their separate endeavors but revels in the opportunity to bring them together, just once each year, in a show of special arrangements that Venaas calls the biggest big band in the country.
And capitalizing on the unique configuration of symphony orchestra plus big band gives the California Pops the enviable opportunity to bring special arrangements, originally created for live radio broadcast, to be heard and enjoyed for the first time in 70-80 years. These arrangements are a key part of the Pops' ability to delight their audiences and bring those heady, swinging years to life.
Like so many other forms of American music, big band was born out of jazz organized around rhythms and accents which could change within a single musical piece, shifting in relation to one another, open to improvisation, influenced by the musicians and even the audience themselves. As the popularity of jazz grew, many bands began expanding their size, adding more and more musicians until they were considered orchestras. New and different instruments were added trumpets, trombones, saxophones, drums (according to at least one historian, a result of military bands at the end of the Spanish-American war having many instruments to sell), guitars, pianos, and more. These big bands began creating a sound which was a combination of jazz, blues, ragtime, black spirituals, European music, and the very popular hotel dance bands of the day. Unlike jazz, which was often small groups of musicians playing 'off the cuff,' these larger groups required more structure. The arrangers became key partners in creating music where each section had its place, but still left ample room for individual improvised solos.
As the country entered the Depression, bands toured less and less, and turned more and more to the relatively new and very affordable phenomenon of radio, which allowed large bands to play and be heard coast to coast; and when bands did play live, fans who had enjoyed their music by radio were more likely to spend their limited cash to attend. Big band, although existing as a sound as early as the 1920s, really took off in the United States in 1935 with Benny Goodman, who became known as the King of Swing, who began playing arrangements by Fletcher Henderson and other talented artists with his new band on the radio. He was soon followed by Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others; and a new style of dancing swing dance followed fast on their heels.
To this day, Big Band has remained a popular sound with American audiences, and a modern resurgence with Michael Buble, Harry Connick, Jr and Gordon Goodwin is gaining a following among younger audiences, performing new compositions as well as big band arrangements of popular music by Beyonce and others. About the California Pops Orchestra California Pops Orchestra has spent three decades proving that orchestral performances by highly trained and talented musicians do not have to be stuffy affairs! The Pops includes many of the Bay Area's leading musicians with training from very distinguished conservatories including Oberlin, Julliard, and the Eastman School of Music. The Pops also draws from talented musicians who also happen to be scientists, educators, engineers, marketers, technology leaders, and other highly creative individuals. This diversity in background plus a single-minded purpose makes the Pops a delight to play with and a never-ending source of ideas, inspiration, and humor.
The California Pops Orchestra's musicians and featured guests bring fun, family-friendly shows to the live stage with selections from the full range of the popular music repertoire. Every one of the Pops performers loves the music of Broadway musicals, television, Hollywood movies, jazz, pop, comic novelties, and big band. This popular music is often scored for a unique set of instruments found in movie and recording studios but not in classical symphony orchestras: so concerts often include flugelhorns, a saxophone section, harmonicas, congas, taxi and car horns, whips, theramins, accordions, marching machines, thunder sheets, sirens and other colorful instruments.
For more information, visit www.calpops.org.