The Reading Pops Orchestra 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert with special guest Rick Braun and featuring The Music of Sinatra! will be Sunday, October 6, at 3:00 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts.
Braun, an Allentown native who moved to the West Coast years ago, is known for his high-energy enthusiasm on stage. With bebop roots and a fusion background, he is a veteran purveyor of the smooth jazz sound.
Known for his impeccable technical chops, melodic wizardry and keen compositional prowess, the acclaimed chart-topping trumpeter, singer, composer and producer has been thrilling audiences for decades and is a perennial crowd favorite at the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest.
Frank Sinatra, of course, was one of history’s most popular entertainers, forging a remarkable and lengthy career. Sinatra rose to fame singing big band numbers and then recorded a dazzling array of hit songs and albums as well as appearing in dozens of films.
He left behind a massive catalogue of work that includes iconic songs like “Autumn in New York,” “My Way,” “New York, New York,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Strangers in the Night,” That’s Life” and “The Lady is a Tramp.”
The Reading Pops are quite familiar with Sinatra. In 2007 the Pops along with the City Rhythm Orchestra did Sinatra: Music of Ol’ Blue Eyes.
The Reading Pops’ reputation as a dynamic orchestra has sprouted significantly in the rich topsoil of collaboration with a litany of accomplished artists in their Berks Jazz Fest and Sunday With the Pops concerts.
This will be Braun’s third performance with the Pops, appearing with them in 2011 and 2012.
“Playing with the Reading Pops Orchestra is still one of my favorite memories of my concerts at the Berks Jazz Fest,” says Braun. “The orchestra is an amazing organization of people who are passionate about playing their instruments. It’s a very special thing as an artist to be able to stand in front of a full orchestra and perform. There is nothing like it. I can’t wait to come back and perform with the Pops once more.”
While Braun is notable for his trumpet, he is a gifted singer, backing Rod Stewart and Sade with his vocals as well as his stellar trumpet — twin skills that he showcased on his Sings With Strings album in 2011.
“The Reading Pops Orchestra is excited to be collaborating once again with Rick Braun,” says Pops conductor Dr. Willis M. Rapp. “Although widely known as a jazz trumpeter, Rick’s voice is perfectly suited to deliver great renditions of tunes from the Great American Songbook. The songs made popular by Frank Sinatra will take center stage as the Reading Pops celebrate their 50th Anniversary season in style with Rick Braun.”
Braun has crafted his own distinctive sound and become a staple on contemporary jazz radio. He has produced No. 1 hits for David Benoit, Marc Antoine and Jeff Golub. Braun achieved collaborative success on massive hits with Boney James, as a member of RnR with Richard Elliot, and with BWB, a powerhouse trio completed by Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown.
Braun has recorded 19 albums, the latest being Crossover, which will be released soon.
Braun has made his mark by staying true to his own musical voice and eclectic influences that have allowed him to collaborate across genres with acclaimed artists such as Tina Turner, Tom Petty, Natalie Cole and REO Speedwagon.
The Pops are a professional 55-piece orchestra made up of musicians from Berks County and surrounding counties who perform popular classics and classic pop. Conductor Wes Fisher established the group in 1969.
It was Fisher’s vision to create a first-class orchestra that would be committed to promoting the musical arts in Berks County through the maintenance of a professional orchestra for public concert performances. The Pops’ annual schedule features free community concerts at various outdoor venues as well as their popular Sunday with the Pops Series at the Miller Center.
J. Carl Borelli, Henry Gass, Frank Siekman, Lewis “Skip” Norcott, Paul Cusano and Charles Weiser succeeded Fisher and preceded Rapp as Pops conductors.
The orchestra performs throughout Berks County playing a wide variety of music, including recognizable classics and overtures of Von Suppe, Handel, Strauss, Dvorak, Bizet and Mozart.
They cover composers such as George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Morton Gould along with popular tunes from Broadway musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.
The Pops also perform movie soundtracks by John Williams and others. The music of LeRoy Anderson, the father of the Pops genre, often is featured as well.
The versatility of the musicians is evident when the woodwind section doubles on saxophones, creating the Pops Big Band. Rousing marches round out the repertoire of this lighter musical style.
Besides Braun, the Pops have performed with such luminaries as The Four Freshmen (five times), Paquito D’Rivera, Ramsey Lewis, David Benoit, Chuck Mangione, Jim Brickman, John Pizzarelli, Nelson Rangell, New York Voices, City Rhythm Orchestra, Diane Schuur, Brian Bromberg, Ann Hampton Calloway, Eric Marienthal, Chuck Loeb, Jane Monheit, Cathy Chemi, Skip Stine, Livingston Taylor, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Minas Sextet, Andrew Neu, Keiko Matsui, David Cullen and the Erich Cawalla Quintet.
Tickets, which include a post-concert celebration in the Miller Center lobby, are $45 and can be purchased at the Miller Center for the Arts box office beginning Wednesday, July 24, at 10 a.m. Box office hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You also can purchase tickets online. CLICK HERE
Or order by calling 610-607-6270.