Pacific Symphony Pops Presents AMERICA This Weekend
One of the most iconic rock-and-roll bands to come out of London during the 1970s-Grammy Award-winning "America"-joins Pacific Symphony Pops to rock the house with hot hits, soulful ballads and rock classics. The perennial folk-country-rock favorite celebrates its 44th anniversary this year with nearly half a century of gold and platinum albums, chart-topping hits and a variety of genre-crossing tunes in its wake. The band's surreal, somewhat psychedelic lyrics, which were an anomaly in their genre, helped to define the new California soft-rock sound that grew out of the area's folk and pop. Founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell join the orchestra to perform such signature hits as "A Horse with No Name," "Ventura Highway," "You Can Do Magic," "Lonely People," "Sister Golden Hair," "Tin Man" and more.
America performs the Symphony's final concert of the 2013-14 season today through Saturday, June 12-14, in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $35-$170. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
"There's nothing like hearing an iconic singing group in a live setting!" says Maestro Kaufman. "For our final Pops concert of the season, I've chosen a variety of music with all sorts of musical colors to complement the songs of America, enhanced by the rich and thrilling sound of Pacific Symphony. The first half includes exciting music by John Williams, the magical theme from 'A Summer Place,' a wild arrangement of a Jerry Lee Lewis classic and more. This will be a unique and wonderful conclusion to our Pops season!"
To open the evening, Maestro Kaufman leads the orchestra in sizzling light classics, perfect for kicking off the summer. The program includes John Williams' march from the Spielberg comedy "1941," Max Steiner's theme from "A Summer Place" and the foot-stomping classic, "Rock Around the Clock." Laguna Niguel tenor and USC student Grant Yosenick, winner of Pacific Symphony's "OC Can You Sing?" contest last season, gives a heartfelt performance of "Bring Him Home" from "LES MISERABLES"-the Broadway classic that won over audiences and earned him a return to the Symphony's stage. Yosenick performs the sweet and lyrical songs, "On the Street Where You Live" from "My Fair Lady" and Tosti's "La Serenata." The orchestra sends the audience to intermission with a medley of famous symphony finales by Robert Wendel, "That's It, That's All... The End!" to conclude the 2013-14 Pops season.
"We're excited that Grant-our winner of last season's 'OC Can You Sing' competition-will be taking the stage once again, this time as our guest artist," says Kaufman. "He's chosen three wonderful pieces-including one of Broadway's most memorable songs in recent years, 'Bring Him Home' from 'Les Miz'-that will showcase the terrific voice of this talented young man."
America's bandmates Dan Peek, Beckley and Bunnell met in high school in London, where their American fathers were stationed as military personnel. They formed the band America in 1970, and named it after the homeland they had hardly seen during their world travels. America immediately became a cornerstone of the 1970s music scene, winning the Grammy in 1972 for Best New Artist. The band became a Top 40 and rock FM radio staple, with some of their best-known songs including "I Need You," "Tin Man" and "Lonely People" playing over international airwaves. They went on to record seven albums-six certified gold or platinum-and with their combination of melodic pop rock, folk-jazz elements and Latin rhythms, persisted across decades as a quintessential force in American classic rock.
No single tune may be more well-known in the halls of classic rock than the bluesy rock-and-roll hit, "Rock Around the Clock," which the Symphony performs on the opening half of the concert. Composed by Max Freedman and Jimmy DeKnight in 1952, the catchy, foot-stomping song made famous by Bill Haley and his Comets two years later became an anthem for 1950s youth, hit the charts as a number-one single in the U.S. and U.K. and is ranked No. 158 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. While the names of "1941" and "A Summer Place" aren't on any lists of greatest films, John Williams and Max Steiner both succeeded in composing memorable themes that have outlasted their lesser-known origins.
Guest soloist Yosenick competed against fellow singers from across Orange County and the Greater Los Angeles area to win last season's "OC Can You Sing?" competition. Born with a chronic visual impairment, Yosenick showed a keen aptitude for music at an early age that has taken him from performing musical theater roles in high school to attending the USC Thornton School of Music, where he currently studies voice with renowned tenor Gary Glaze. Yosenick has continued his artistic endeavors with the USC Chamber Opera, Concert Choir, Graduate Recital Choir and the choir of the USC Caruso Catholic Center.
The Symphony's 2014-15 Pops includes Michael Andrew singing songs of Frank Sinatra, Christmas with Sandi Patty, Valentine's Day with The Tenors, The Chieftains, Paul Anka, a symphonic night at the movies with Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and Herb Alpert and Lani Hall. Subscriptions are on sale now; single tickets are available Aug. 17.