Moonlight Serenade

2010 – 2011 Season


“Moonlight Serenade,” the season finale of The Panama City POPS promises a dreamy and romantic start, and a rousing and fun finish says its artistic director, Maestro Eddie Rackley. “People will go away happy,” stated Rackley. “The orchestra will play everything from a complete symphony to a medley of one of Broadway’s most beloved hits.”

Mounting the program for the first half of the evening will be a fine selection of classical pieces. “Symphony No. 2, the Romantic” by American composer and champion of American classical music, Howard Hanson, will open the concert. The audience will recognize this piece for its use in the end credits of the 1979 Ridley Scott film blockbuster, “Alien.” “The Toreador Song,” from Georges Bizet’s opera, “Carmen,” describes various situations in the bullring, the cheering of the crowds and the fame that comes with victory.

Rounding out the first half will be “Procession of the Nobles,” from “Mlada” by one of Russia’s greatest composers, Rimsky-Korsakov. It’s a joyous, stunning, regal work featuring three trumpet parts and a solid low brass and woodwind foundation.

The second half of the program will feature an array of popular pieces including “Hoedown” from the “Rodeo” ballet by Aaron Copland; the suite from “Far and Away,” John Williams’ original composition from the movie by the same name; George Gershwin’s perennial classic, “Summertime;” and Young and Heyman’s “When I Fall in Love.” “And it’s the final piece of the evening that will have the audience on its feet,” said Rackley. The POPS will present a medley from the ten-year-running, Broadway smash hit, “Mamma Mia.” The POPS Chorale will accompany the orchestra for the ABBA vocals. Three female leads will perform with the chorale, and Rackley promises an amazing finale.

Gary Fry

The night’s arrangement has been written by Emmy Award-winning composer Gary Fry, who will be in the audience at Arnold at this performance. Fry’s arrangements and compositions are audience favorites with the Chicago Symphony and Chorus, as well as with the Dallas Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Boston Pops, Philadelphia Pops, New York Pops, the American Jazz Philharmonic, and other regional orchestras. Fry also regularly is commissioned by major churches to write sacred music for special events as well as for the Christmas season.

Fry has composed for film, television, live theater, ballet, and more than 2500 radio and television commercials for McDonald’s, Sears, Kellogg’s, and hundreds of other major national advertisers. He received a 2006 Emmy Award for his work for Chicago’s CBS affiliate WBBM-TV. Air travelers hear Fry’s electronic version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue when passing through the United Airlines terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. His music is also featured daily on the Cartoon Network program Baby Looney Tunes. Music education and music for children are other areas in which Fry is active. His teaching resumé includes positions on the faculties of the University of Miami, Northwestern University, and Midwest Young Artists, and he has conducted workshops and seminars at many other educational institutions. He is a past governor of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and recently was named Artistic Consultant to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Gary and his wife Carol are longtime residents of suburban Chicago.

Established as a mentoring orchestra, The Panama City POPS invites advanced student musicians of all ages to audition. If qualified, they are mentored by current POPS musicians who help guide and teach them while giving them the opportunity to play and perform with an orchestra. Mentored students departing the POPS this year will be recognized at the concert.

Also that evening, The Panama City POPS will conduct its fourth annual silent auction in collaboration with the Visual Arts Center. The painting, “POPS by the Bay” by renowned local artist, Paul Brent, is the featured work of art on this season’s Panama City POPS Orchestra brochure, program covers and television commercials. The original artwork will be on display at the Visual Arts Center in downtown Panama City until the final POPS concert on May 14.