Diana Ross Opened The Hollywood Bowl 2018 Season To A Full House
Summer unofficially began with the Hollywood Bowl ushering in its 2018 season during its Opening Night Concert featuring Diana Ross, Saturday, June 16, at 8 pm. The living legend with an impressive career spanning nearly six decades performed a unique set featuring her favorite and most memorable songs accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (HBO), led by Principal Conductor Thomas Wilkins.
The evening also included a special performance with members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), the LA Phil's initiative to provide access to free, high quality instrumental and orchestral education to underserved youth in the area in order to promote youth development. The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised more than $1.75 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's many education and community programs (including YOLA), which serve more than 150,000 youth, families and teachers every year.
The festive evening began with Wilkins leading the HBO in Bernstein's rousing composition Slava! This was followed by the performance of John Williams' "Adventures on Earth" from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and a video montage showcasing the Los Angeles Philharmonic's educational initiatives was shown on the Bowl's big side screens.
After officially welcoming the audience to the special night, Wilkins introduced the LA Phil Opening Night Committee Chairs Teena Hostovich, Doug Martinet, and Michael Martinet, as well as Opening Night Title Sponsor Kaiser Permanente's Group President Gregory Adams, and President, Southern California Region Julie Miller-Phipps.
The first half of the program concluded with 30 senior members of YOLA, seated among the HBO, performing Arturo Márquez' Conga del fuego nuevo along with the professional musicians.
For the second half of the concert, legendary icon Diana Ross promised an evening of music, memories and fireworks - and she delivered. Diana Ross entered the stage performing an overture accompanied by choir. Ross went on to sing fan favorites from her vast catalog of hits, such as "He Lives In You," "More Today than Yesterday," and "You Can't Hurry Love." She was joined again by choir for "If We Hold On Together," and continued with "Chain Reaction," "It's My Turn," "It's My House," "Touch Me in The Morning," "Amazing Grace," "Fine and Mellow," "The Man I Love," "Home," and "Upside Down." She went on to a medley of "Do You Know" from Mahogany and "Ain't No Mountain" accompanied by both the choir and a spectacular fireworks show. For her encore Ross concluded with "Reach Out And Touch," accompanied by the choir to a standing ovation.
Several entertainers, as well as elected and other civic officials, were present to enjoy the benefit concert, including Debbie Allen, Lee Daniels, Terrence Howard, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Heidi Klum, and Ross' children: actress and singer-songwriter Rhonda Ross Kendrick, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, producer Chudney Ross, producer Ross Naess, and actor and singer Evan Ross and his wife, singer Ashlee Simpson. Also present were Los Angeles County Board Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis, Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, Los Angeles Philharmonic Board Chair Jay Rasulo, Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer Simon Woods, and Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Operating Officer Chad Smith.
Prior to the concert, Opening Night Patrons enjoyed a VIP cocktail reception in the Monique and Jonathan Kagan Hollywood Bowl Museum Patio. Reception attendees delighted in the evening's signature drink - a refreshing Frosé created with Winc Summer Water rosé. Brief welcoming remarks were made by LA Phil CEO Simon Woods,in his first Opening Night since taking on his role with the organization,as well as Opening Night Committee Chair Teena Hostovich and LA Phil Board Member and Kaiser Permanente Group President Gregory Adams.
Following the reception, Opening Night patrons were served dinner at their boxes. The table décor featured white linens with white orchid centerpieces.
Catering for the evening was provided by James Beard Award Winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne of Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine. The custom menu offered a first course of farro salad with chopped romaine, cucumber radish, snap peas, and olive oil green goddess dressing. The main course, chicken under a brick, was complemented by fresh corn polenta, spinach, and succotash salsa. The meal concluded with a dessert course of vanilla cheesecake with strawberries and blackberries.
Wine for the evening was provided by Winc, Official Wines of the Hollywood Bowl. For guests who opted to make use of on-demand transportation Lyft, the Hollywood Bowl's Official Rideshare Partner, the Lyft Lounge, located in the rideshare pick up area, provided comfortable seating and mobile phone charging stations while guests awaited their vehicles. The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Concert was chaired by Gala Co-Chairs Teena Hostovich, Doug Martinet and Michael Martinet. Kaiser Permanente was the Opening Night Title Sponsor. Additional sponsors were Premier Sponsor Live Nation/Ticketmaster, Wine Sponsor Winc, Muse Sponsor Wells Fargo and Rideshare Partner Lyft.
Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years in the entertainment industry, including music, film, television, theater, and fashion. Ross recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, and the Kennedy Center Honor. She is an Academy Award nominee, has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and received the Grammy Awards' highest recognition: The Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres - orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop - at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (hollywoodbowl.com). The LA Phil's season extends from September through June at Walt Disney Concert Hall and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922 and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music, offering something for everyone. It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz performances. In February 2018, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the 14th year in a row at the 29th Annual Pollstar Awards and was awarded the Top Amphitheater prize at the 2017 Billboard Touring Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.