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Every May and June, the Boston Pops—affectionately known as “America’s Orchestra”—takes over Symphony Hall.
Led by conductor Keith Lockhart, who’s now in his 22nd season with the orchestra, the Boston Pops entertains audiences with world-class performances, many of which feature acclaimed artists from the worlds of Broadway, pop, rock, and country music. This spring, the orchestra presents more than a dozen distinct programs featuring special guests as diverse as Sutton Foster, Brian Wilson, Darlene Love, and Mandy Patinkin.
But before the first note of the season is played by the Boston Pops season, Symphony Hall undergoes a makeover. Check out this time-lapse video by the Boston Globe to see the changeover in action:
Complex lighting systems are installed in the rafters, all of the rows of seats on the orchestra floor are removed, and cabaret-style tables and chairs are brought in during the 1-week break between the end of BSO season and the start of Pops season.
The Boston Pops—made up of Boston Symphony Orchestra members, minus the first chairs— is now about halfway through its exciting Spring 2016 season.
Remaining concerts feature Mandy Patinkin (6/7), legendary singer Darlene Love (6/11), Broadway singing sensation Liz Callaway (6/9 & 10), and Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Laura Osnes, and Justin Hopkins in a program highlighting music from Broadway’s heyday in the ’40s and ’50s (6/15 & 16).
Photo from 2015 Pops on Demand concert — photo credit Liza Voll
The orchestra also brings back its interactive Pops on Demand concerts, giving audience members the power to program the evening’s playlist by voting for their favorite songs in a number of different categories, from “Favorite Fenway Song” to “Song You Love to Hate” (6/14). Beach Boys’ co-founder and legendary singer/songwriter Brian Wilson closes out the season with two sold-out symphonic performances of the iconic Pet Sounds album, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (6/17 & 18).
Photo from John Williams’ Film Night, May 12, 2016 — photo credit Winslow Townson
Nationally, the Boston Pops has become synonymous with July 4th, with images of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra (the touring branch of the Boston Pops) performing the 1812 Overture at the Hatch Shell coming to mind. Keith Lockhart and the Pops also return to the annual Citizens Bank Annual Pops by the Sea concert at the Cape and perform alongside multi-platinum artist Kenny Loggins (8/14), and they also team up with Broadway performer and actress Megan Hilty at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in celebration of The Trustees of Reservations’ 125th anniversary (8/6).
This year’s July 4th festivities will be broadcast nationally on CBS and feature pop stars Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas.
Keith Lockhart with the Pops at the Hatch Shell, July 4, 2015 — photo credit Michael Blanchard
If you missed Seth MacFarlane, John Williams’ Film Night, Raiders of the Lost Ark Live, or Brian Wilson at Symphony Hall, you have another chance to catch these performances at Tanglewood this summer. Additional Boston Pops concerts at Tanglewood include a Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration with renowned guitarist Warren Haynes (7/1); a performance with The B-52s (9/2); and a festive Dancing Under the Stars concert with the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra to close out the season (9/3).
Tickets for Boston Pops concerts at Symphony Hall this season range from $24 to $120, and tickets for Pops performances at Tanglewood range from $22 to $124. More details about upcoming Boston Pops concerts can be found at bostonpops.org.
Feature image, Keith Lockhart with Boston Pops — photo credit Winslow Townson