Pops & Picnic to open symphony season in Sequim, PA

Come and join the jubilee

listen to the band

swinging’ through the land

everybody stand …

when you sing

with the zip and zing

watch the blues go bing

make the rafters ring — up to heaven!

So goes Hoagy Carmichael’s song “Jubilee,” one among many facets of the annual Pops &Picnic concerts — annual celebrations of music and community — in Port Angeles this Friday, Sept. 29, and in Sequim Saturday, Sept. 30.

Vocal Unlimited, the 20-voice select choir from Port Angeles High School, will sing “Jubilee” and “America the Beautiful” — and that’s just the choral part of the Pops &Picnic experience.

These concerts open the 75-piece Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra’s 85th season, and in keeping with the Pops tradition, conductor Jonathan Pasternack has assembled a variety of music from Broadway to light classics and from jazz to opera.

First, the particulars. Music lovers are invited to pack a picnic supper while the Symphony provides soft drinks, popcorn and dessert at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 W. Fourth St., Port Angeles, on Friday, Sept. 29, and the Boys &Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, 400 W. Fir St., Sequim, on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Show time is 7 p.m. both nights.

Admission is $10 for students and seniors; $20 general and $5 for children. Tickets are available at Port Book and News in Port Angeles, at The Joyful Noise Music Center in Sequim and by phoning the Symphony office at 360-457-5579. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

It’s hard to say who is more enthused about this pair of concerts. Jolene Dalton Gailey is in the running as she prepares Vocal Unlimited, her select choir at Port Angeles High School, for “Jubilee.” They’re about to sing a version arranged specifically for this choir and these concerts. Composer and pianist Linda Dowdell, known for her jazz, classical and musical theater work across the continent, created the arrangement.

Also on the Pops &Picnic program:

• Tenor Mark Lorentzen with “Bring Him Home,” a show-stopping number from “Les Miserables;”

• A “Star Wars” suite featuring music by Oscar-winning composer John Williams;

• Port Angeles Symphony violinist Lauren Rankin performing Max Bruch’s First Concerto;

• Soprano Kristin K. Vogel with “Un Bel di Vedremo,” a classic aria from “Madama Butterfly.”

“I am really excited to sing with you guys,” said Vogel, who will make her debut on the North Olympic Peninsula at Pops &Picnic.

“I love working with Jonathan,” she said of the conductor, adding that she’s heard about the community’s strong support of the orchestra — something that makes a big difference to her as a performer.

For those who don’t often go to the opera, Vogel said, this song from “Butterfly” will enchant. It’s the title character singing about how her beloved will, one beautiful day, come back to her. She’ll see him in a crowd of people, and he will see her … and …

The story in this opera is “very powerful and clear,” said Vogel, who will return to Port Angeles later in the season. She’ll be a guest artist singing the role of Santuzza in “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Pietro Mascagni’s one-act opera, in a concert performance on May 5.

“She is just amazing; the total package,” Pasternack said of the soprano.

So is Lauren, the 17-year-old violinist who won the 2017 Young Artist Competition and who plays in the Port Angeles High School orchestra as well as the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra.

Pops &Picnic is Lauren’s favorite performance of the year, since “you get to hear pieces you don’t normally hear a symphony perform,” such as the “Star Wars” music.

To find out more about Pops &Picnic and the coming season of five symphony orchestra concerts and six chamber orchestra performances, visit www.PortAngelesSymphony.org.

The first Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra concerts, set for Oct. 13-14, featuring guest artist Kerry Turner performing Mozart’s Second Concerto for Horn; the first Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra concert comes Nov. 11 with guest artist Elisa Barston of Seattle playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

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