Opening the orchestra's pops series Nov. 2 and 3 is “Disco Days and Boogie Nights.” Guest conductor Jack Everly has assembled a program that pays tribute to the music of the 1970s. This nostalgic journey will include performances of the disco anthem “I Will Survive,” Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Don McLean's ballad “American Pie.”
Headlining Chesapeake Energy's “The Christmas Show” is Michele Ragusa, star of Broadway's “Young Frankenstein,” “Ragtime” and “Titanic.” Scheduled Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, this much-anticipated concert will explore musical styles ranging from “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Blue Christmas” to “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Star of Bethlehem.”
King of Pop's music featured
“The Music of Michael Jackson” will kick off the new year Jan. 25 and 26. James Delisco will be the featured vocalist in a concert that will showcase the King of Pop's career with selections that include “Rock With You,” “ABC” and “Beat It.”
This season's Broadway-themed concert is the “Cole Porter Songbook: Anything Goes!” Scheduled Feb. 22 and 23, the concerts will celebrate Porter's musical theater career with selections that include “You're the Top,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Night and Day” and “Let's Do It.”
On March 22 and 23, the orchestra will present “Yesterday Once More — A Tribute to the Carpenters.” Vocalists Joanna Jahn, John Trones and Jen Burleigh-Bentz will perform a variety of Carpenters classics, including “We've Only Just Begun,” “Close to You,” “Yesterday Once More” and “Rainy Days and Mondays.”
The 2012-13 pops season will come to a close May 3 and 4 with “Cirque de la Symphonie,” a program that features aerialists and acrobats performing to a variety of musical styles ranging from Andrew Lloyd Webber to John Williams.
“In many ways, programming a pops series can be more difficult than putting together a classics season,” Levine said. “We've really broadened the popularity of the offerings, from a Carpenters evening to a Cirque production. Thanks to (executive director) Eddie Walker's input, it's going to be a very attractive season.”
The orchestra's Discovery Series, a trio of concerts designed for families with children, begins Oct. 28 with “Phil's Monster Mash.” This Halloween-themed concert will include performances of Bach's “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” and Russell Peck's “The Chill of the Orchestra.”
An afternoon of patriotic music is planned for the Jan. 27 concert. Closing the series April 7 is a concert featuring the Sugar Free Allstars, a local duo that blends New Orleans funk, Memphis soul, organ-drenched gospel and colorful rock and roll. Matt Troy conducts the Discovery series.