Boston Pops to present Gershwin tunes April 2 in Carmel


By Mark Ambrogi

This is not your normal Boston Pops concert tour.

“This is a tour that is unusual for us in that it is composer-specific because we’re trying to tell a story of George Gershwin’s incredible contributions to American music and American culture,” Pops conductor Keith Lockhart said. “We’re doing it in the context of the orchestra is configured like the Paul Whiteman orchestra of 1924, which is orchestra that commissioned Gershwin to write ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’ So we think we’re bringing an orchestra, which is very much like the sound Gershwin would have expected to hear when he stepped out on that stage in New York City in 1924.”

Lockhart and the Pops Esplanade Orchestra will present “By George! The Pops Play Gershwin” at 7 p.m. April 2 at the Palladium in Carmel.

“I think this is our second time playing in the Carmel facility, which is one of our favorite places to play in the Midwest,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart said pianist Michael Chertok will play “Rhapsody in Blue” and variations of “I’ve Got Rhythm.” Vocalists Justin Hopkins and Erica Spyres will sing songs from Gershwin’s contributions to the Great American Songbook such as “The Man I Love” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”

There will music from “Porky and Bess” and Gershwin’s film scores.

“I think it’s a great program and audiences have really responded to it strongly,” Lockhart said. “This is a great fit for that venue (Palladium) and certainly for Michael Feinstein’s commitment to American music. This is as American as it gets.”

This is Lockhart’s 22nd year with the Pops.

“We have moved as an orchestra a ways from doing variety shows where we did a little bit of classic music or a little bit of Broadway,” Lockhart said. “We’ve done more specific concerts here in Boston because we find audiences want to hear all Celtic music, for instance, or all Broadway or all classical. Audiences have become more discerning or less open to sounds they haven’t heard before. Rather than use our flexibility all in the course of one concert, we’re providing lots of different concert experiences.”

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