Boston Pops Present 100th Anniversary Tribute to “King of Swing” Benny Goodman

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops open week five of the spring season with concerts celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the “King of Swing,” the great jazz clarinetist/band leader Benny Goodman. The June 2, June 4, and June 5 programs, led by Keith Lockhart, feature such favorites as “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “Let’s Dance.” Pops principal clarinetist Thomas Martin is the program’s soloist. The June 5 program also features the annual tribute to Arthur Fiedler, the Pops’ legendary maestro for nearly half a century who elevated the orchestra into a beloved national institution. Special film clips feature historic footage of Fiedler and Goodman. On June 6, conductor Charles Floyd and the Grammy-winning Edwin Hawkins and the New Edwin Hawkins Singers, whose iconic “Oh Happy Day” made gospel history, join forces for the rousing “Gospel Night,” one of the Pops’ most popular concerts of the year.

June 2, 100th Anniversary Tribute to Benny Goodman
The Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart salute the great swing clarinetist Benny Goodman on the 100th anniversary of his birth with a program that celebrates the “King of Swing” and his phenomenal impact as a virtuoso instrumentalist and dynamic bandleader. Boston Pops principal clarinetist Thomas Martin is the featured soloist. The concert will include some of the favorite hits Goodman and his band made famous, from “Sing, Sing, Sing” to “Let’s Dance,” as well as a world premiere arrangement of “Clarinade” composed by long-time Pops collaborator Don Sebesky. Vintage film clips will feature historic footage of Goodman appearing with Arthur Fiedler and the Pops.

The evening’s second half, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” continues the Pops’ season-long ode to our national pastime, with selections from the Pops’ new Red Sox Album, including the orchestra’s new arrangement of the Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” accompanied by a rollicking video tribute created by WCVB Channel 5’s award-winning newsmagazine, “Chronicle.” The second half of the program will also include “Baseball on Broadway,” featuring actors from the Boston Conservatory performing Broadway hits including “There Goes the Ball Game” from And the World Goes ‘Round, “The Baseball Game” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and a medley of songs from Damn Yankees. The Pops will also perform two songs from Robert and Willie Reale’s spirited new musical Red Sox Nation, a clever take on the origin of the curse and the mystical power of baseball, scheduled for premiere by American Repertory Theater next spring.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the concert also features Copland’s stirring “Lincoln Portrait,” narrated by Daniel Howe (Harvard, ’59), who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his book What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. The work will be accompanied by a new Lincoln tribute film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett.

June 5, Arthur Fiedler Concert
Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in the annual tribute to one of the most beloved figures in Boston music history, Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979), the Pops’ legendary maestro for nearly half a century who elevated the orchestra into a treasured national institution. The program features some of Fiedler’s favorite music, from Gershwin to the irrepressible Leroy Anderson, and includes a “Cinematic Sing-Along,” with such memorable tunes as “Moon River,” “Que Sera, Sera” and “Over the Rainbow.” In keeping with Fiedler’s commitment to feature classical music alongside popular tunes, the program opens with music by Tchaikovsky, including Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra, featuring cellist James Kim, winner of the 2009 Boston Symphony Youth Concerts Concerto Competition.

June 6, “Gospel Night,” with Edwin Hawkins and New Edwin Hawkins Singers
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the rousing classic “Oh Happy Day,” Edwin Hawkins and the New Edwin Hawkins Singers and band join the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, the orchestra, and conductor Charles Floyd in an exuberant, wide-ranging evening of gospel music in all its glory. Walter Hawkins will join his brother and the New Edwin Hawkins Singers for the set, featuring some of the group’s most memorable songs, such as “Marvelous,” “Someday,” “He Won’t Leave You,” “Comforter,” and “Oh Happy Day,” one of the biggest hits in gospel history. Floyd, who recently conducted the Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial, has helped turn this annual event into one of the Pops’ most eagerly anticipated evenings. His distinctive arrangements are featured throughout the evening, beginning with a series of selections including “No Battle, No Blessing” and “Hosanna” by the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, with pianist Jerome Kyles, organist Dennis Montgomery III, drummer Sean Skeete, and bassist Ron Reid. In honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the concert also features Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” with a new Lincoln tribute film by Susan Dangel and Dick Bartlett.

Tickets for the 2009 Boston Pops are priced from $20 to $89 and may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org or by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (with a $5.50 handling fee for each ticket ordered online or by phone). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Symphony Hall box office, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. through the first concert intermission on concert dates. Most major credit cards, personal checks, and cash are accepted at the box office. For Group Sales of 25 or more, please call 617-638-9345 or 800-933-4255.

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