László Veres is back at the podium this weekend to lead his twin ensembles — the professional Tucson Pops Orchestra and the volunteer Arizona Symphonic Winds — in their annual springtime concerts in the parks.
The Pops, whose ranks come largely from moonlighting Tucson Symphony Orchestra musicians, plays Sunday nights at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, East 22nd Street and South Country Club Road. The Winds, a multigenerational group of pretty terrific musicians, plays Saturdays in Veres’ namesake amphitheater at Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. and admission is free, although donations are accepted.
This is the Pops’ 65th season and one of the last for Veres, who announced last spring that he is auditioning conductors to replace him. The process, which could take two years, includes hosting conducting candidates to perform parts of the Pops concerts throughout the season.
Arizona Symphonic Winds Music in the Park Concert Series will be held Saturdays beginning May 11 through June 1:
- May 11 — “From Broadway With Love” featuring vocalist Jack Neubeck, who has performed on Broadway more than 2,500 times;
- May 18 — “The Virtuoso Clarinet” with guest soloist Jackie Glazer, a professor of clarinet at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music, performing music of von Weber;
- May 25 — “An Evening with John Philip Sousa” with banjo player Rob Wright returning by popular demand
- June 1 — The group’s annual rite of summer concert “Stars of the Future,” highlighting talented high school tuba players Thomas Gerald and Phoenix Heinz and other gifted young musicians performing classic band literature; light classical selections, marches, show tunes and novelty pieces.
Tucson Pops Orchestra’s Music Under the Stars is Sundays beginning May 12 through June 16:
- May 12 — Mother’s Day Concert featuring the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Irish Dancers Liam Boyd and Meghan Crownhart. The program includes selections from “Phantom of the Opera” and “My Yiddishe Momme” to commemorate mothers
- May 19 — The Tucson Balalaika Orchestra joins the Pops for “Fantasy on Jewish Theme” while the orchestra performs “The Tucson March,” which M. Wolfram composed for the orchestra. Other works include Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and a guest appearance at the podium by Enrique “Hank” Feldman.
- May 26 — Memorial Day Concert featuring banjo player Rob Wright
- June 2 — Guitarist Ryan Chen will perform Rodrigo’s poignant Concierto de Aranjuez on a program that includes selections from “Carmen,” “Mary Poppins” and “Hair.” Guest conductor Jonathan Merrill will lead the orchestra for part of the concert.
- June 9 — Pueblo High School’s exciting Mariachi Aztlan will perform several numbers including “La Virgen de la Macarena” while the orchestra will perform the overture from the “Barber of Seville,” selections from “West Side Story” and “Man of La Mancha.” Toru Tagawa will be at the podium for a portion of this concert.
- June 16 – Father’s Day Concert featuring “Young Conductors” — selected from the audience by Veres — taking turns at the podium. The program includes selections from “Jurassic Park” and “The Producers” and the powerful “1812 Overture.”