As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Tucson Pops Orchestra, we honor those who came before us, who made it possible for us to arrive at this incredible milestone. It truly has been a labor of love for all of us. It began with a small group of musicians gathered together by our founder Georges DeMeester all those years ago out of a desire to entertain and share their talents simply for the love of music. Today, the Tucson Pops Orchestra features the top musicians in Southern AZ, whose pleasure it is to continue to provide the highest quality music to the Tucson public each season.
We are looking forward to a wonderful spring program featuring some old favorites and new talents, along with four guest conductors who will take the baton for 30 minutes each during four of the six concerts. Each of these has expressed a desire to become the next conductor of the Tucson Pops when I retire. Out of those four plus the two candidates who were guest conductors last season, two will be selected to conduct full concerts in the fall. I welcome your feedback and suggestions as we go through this process.
It's time to dust of those lawn chairs and get ready for our 65th season of Music Under the Stars™, beginning on Mother’s Day, May 12th.
See you at the Pops!
Dear Tucson Pops Friends,
65 YEARS! Quite a milestone for any performing arts group and yet here we are. I wonder if Georges DeMeester ever thought that Tucson would support his dream of free concerts in the park for 65 years.
I think he would be so pleased and so would the many others that gave their hearts and soul to the survival of the Tucson Pops Orchestra. Maestro Bucky Steele who Georges passed the baton to all those years ago, Dottie Spence who ran the organization for over 40 years and our dear Dave Sitton who was taken from us too soon. I just know he would be singing Mac the Knife at our opening concert if he were with us and he would be so proud that we have soldiered on in his absence to keep Music Under the Stars™ alive.
Maestro Laszlo Veres who took over from Bucky Steele, has truly elevated every performance for the past 21 years. As he leads us into this special year, he is considering who he would like to hand over the baton to…no simple task as, I am sure you would agree, he is a very hard act to follow. Throughout the spring season Laszlo will welcome possible candidates to guest conduct for 30 minutes during four of the six concerts. Out of those four, two will be selected to conduct full concerts in the fall. As Friends of the Pops we hope you will weigh in with your input and impressions to better help us decide on a successor who can fill those very big Maestro shoes. So sit back and enjoy the ride.
Thank you for joining us on this wonderful journey.
Tucson Pops Orchestra
Fall is a series of transitions, from the scorching summer to the warm Tucson fall. It’s time for back to school, Jewish New Year and so many new beginnings. For my family this year presents a big transition, our oldest just starting kindergarten. It is a bitter- sweet time. As Sheldon Harnick, the brilliant lyrist, wrote in Fiddler on the Roof, “Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, swiftly fly the years” Over the next year, the Tucson Pops will see its own transition as we begin the search for a new conductor when Maestro Veres retires. He’s not leaving anytime soon but the process to fill his very big shoes will not be simple and will take time. Over this season and next, conductors who are interested in the position will take to the stage as part of the vetting process. Two of them will appear on the first two Sundays of the 2018 Fall Season. While we are looking forward to see where this search ends, we will also miss Maestro Veres beyond words.
The Tucson Pops exists because of you, our dedicated audience and Friends of the Pops. We would like to have your participation in the selection process. Over the next three Sundays there will be surveys located at both booths for you to give us your feedback on the two guest conductors you will see this month. The form will also be available on our website. All surveys are anonymous but feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. Thank you for being here for 64 wonderful years Music Under the Stars™!
Executive Director, Tucson Pops Orchestra
It’s time to get those ice chests and lawn chairs out and get ready for another wonderful season of Music Under the Stars! This Sunday, Mother’s Day kicks off a wonderful series of spring concerts in the park.
Just for mom, we are featuring the exciting Falcon Steel Band from Catalina Foothills High School. Under the direction of Dr. Tina Walton, they will perform a medley of pieces written specifically for Steel Bands and arranged by Dr. Walton. The Orchestra program includes Sevilla, a lively Spanish piece by Albeniz, Dave Brubeck’s classic It’s About Time, music, selections from The Sound of Musicand of course My Yiddishe Momme, my personal favorite in honor of my dear Mother.
I think you will love the full schedule of spring concerts we have planned for you over the next five Sundays. Next Sunday, we will bring you a very special evening with Tucson’s favorite singers, Crystal Stark and Katherine Byrnes in a tribute to the late Regina Miller, longtime concert fan who left a legacy donation to the Pops. In weeks to come, we look forward to the patriotic Memorial Day concert, an amazing young talent, Cellist Sophia Rightmer, a tribute the music of Leonard Bernstein on his 100th birthday, the 1812 Overture and much more.
I hope to see you all at the Pops!
Gratefulness. I have always been a person who sees the glass “half full”, so gratefulness is part of my everyday life. I believe that no matter how bad the dayis, we can always find something to be grateful for.
Today, I am grateful that we are back for our 64th season of Music Under the Stars™ and we have kept the promise of Georges S. DeMeester of his long ago dream of free concerts in the park.
I am grateful for the wonderful leadership of our Maestro László Veres and the world-class talents of the Tucson Pops Orchestra and for the uplifting concerts they bring into our lives each spring and fall.
I am grateful for living in the beautiful city of Tucson, where the people are friendly and give from their hearts to support the Arts and many other wonderful causes.
Most of all, I am grateful for you, the Friends of the Pops and our wonderful sponsors, especially Long Realty Companies. Your constant support makes it possible for us to continue to provide Tucson Pops Concerts, where year after year, generations of families and friends have come together to share in the power and spirit of Music Under the Stars.
Let the season begin! See you at the Pops!
President, Tucson Pops Orchestra
“I ask in all honesty
Where would life be
Without a song or dance
What are we?
So, I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me.”
—Thank you for the Music — ABBA
I’m a huge ABBA fan. Anytime Mamma Mia comes to Tucson, I buy tickets for myself and my mother and have a rollicking good time. But my favorite song by ABBA is “Thank You for the Music”. It’s a simple song, but it’s incredibly poignant.
My favorite moment of the season is the first rehearsal when the first song played. It makes me tear up every single time. All the effort of making it to the first concert of the seasons fades as I listen to our amazing orchestra and wonderful Maestro make beautiful music. My second favorite moment is the first time the National Anthem plays at the first concert. I love the sound of the orchestra and the audience making wonderful music together, because truly without music, what are we?
We simply wouldn’t be able to enjoy Tucson Pops Concerts without each and every one of you, our Friends of the Pops. Whether you have thrown money in our baskets at intermission, sponsored an orchestra player, or just enjoyed beautiful music in the park, you have all helped reach or 64th season.
With music in our lives, I truly believe we will be around for 64+ more years. So, thank you for the music, for giving it to us.
Executive Director, Tucson Pops Orchestra
Long Realty Company, along with its affiliate companies Long Mortgage Company, Long Title Agency and Long Insurance Group, are proud of their continued sponsorship of the gem of Southern Arizona arts community, the Tucson Pops Orchestra. For over 91 years, serving the communities in which we work and live has helped Long Realty grow and prosper. We are always looking for ways to positively impact people’s lives with our outward-caring, community-supporting focus.
Like the Tucson Pops Orchestra, Long Realty Company has a long history of dedication to the service of our community. That’s why, since 2002, the Long Realty Cares Foundation have given back more than $3 million to a wide array of community groups. In 2017 alone, the foundation gave grants totaling $265,000 to 76 different local organizations focused on education, health, community services, the environment and of course, the arts.
Under the leadership of musical director and conductor Laszlo Veres, the Tucson Pops Orchestra continues to excite us with remarkable music under the bright Tucson stars and amaze us with its commitment to our local community.
We are delighted that you have joined us this season and hope you enjoy tonight’s exceptional musical experience.