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Preview: ONNY's summer pops concert in Potsdam

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Pops and patriotic tunes will fill Hosmer Hall at SUNY Potsdam on July 3rd at 7:30 p.m. It's the Orchestra of Northern New York's annual summer pops concert, a musical celebration for the Fourth of July, Canada Day and summer. Todd Moe spoke with conductor Ken Andrews, who says the theme for Tuesday night's concert is the Big Band era.

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Todd Moe
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The concert’s Big Band era theme will be kicked off with a tribute to Henry Mancini and will include pieces such as “Baby Elephant Walk,” “Pink Panther” and “Peter Gunn.” Conductor Ken Andrews said, “So we’re having really a great time with the orchestra playing some of the great tunes from that golden era.”

This portion of the program will be followed by an arrangement of Calvin Custer called “A Salute to the Big Bands” that includes a variety of songs. After intermission, the orchestra will play a selection of Duke Ellington’s works. Andrews said, “One of the special aspects of this program is a work that has been commissioned, and will be premiered at this concert, by Bret Zvacek.”

Zvaceck is the head of jazz studies at the Crane School of Music. According to Andrews, he is a sought-out arranger, composer and trombone soloist. He has written a new arrangement called “Deep Fascinating Things.” This arrangement is a play on three pieces that he has arranged titled “All The Things You Are,” “How Deep is the Ocean” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”Zvacek will also do a solo jazz improvisation on a piece called “Over The Rainbow.”

The concert will close with a celebration of 1812 in honor of its 200th anniversary. The orchestra will play the “1812 Overture” and “Stars And Stripes.” The final celebratory piece on the program is the “Olympic Fanfare” because of the 2012 London Summer Games starting in a few weeks. Andrews said, “We’re going to share that with the audience and hopefully send some good vibes for the athletes.”

This concert differs from the more traditional concerts typically performed by the orchestra. “We try very hard in all of our programming throughout the year to try to include music that all the tastes of our listeners will enjoy,” said Andrews. The orchestra’s repertoire ranges from early classical works from the Baroque to Beethoven, and all the way through the great Romantic composers.

“But we also like to include all genres, so the summer pops concert gives us an opportunity to explore some of these others, whether it’s fiddling, whether it’s big band music, whether it’s music from the British Isles, music from outer space, which might include classical and pops as we did last summer,” said Andrews.

“This year, we actually have a very, very special celebration going on with the Orchestra of Northern New York. This is our 25th anniversary,” said Andrews. This includes the symphonic dances of West Side Story, Lincoln Portrait with overhead visuals and a narrator and also Festival Overture of Shostakovich. This will done in the form of a flute concertino. “We are looking forward to having that work,” said Andrews of this world premiere. "It looks like it’s going to be an absolutely sensational season of great music for all tastes.”

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