POPS on the Green
October 15, 2022
photos by Lara Webber except top photo with bicycle by Kristie Wang
For the second year in a row, our annual Pops concert was al fresco on the Shea Stage in the Bankhead Plaza on an autumn afternoon. Audience members were welcome to bring a picnic or snack and enjoy the music provided by our wonderful Livermore-Amador Symphony, conducted by Lara Webber (with some very young assistants during the Washington Post March!), plus the high-schoolers of jazz band Element 116, led by Matt Finders. No need for tickets, but donations were accepted happily!
As always, Pops was sponsored by the Livermore-Amador Symphony Guild, with all donations going to the Symphony.
Picnic with the POPS!
October 23, 2021
In 2021, the POPS went al fresco! Our POPS celebration was on the lawn in front of the Bankhead Theater and featured our wonderful Livermore-Amador Symphony directed by Lara Webber and local student jazz band Element 116 directed by Matt Finders — plus some adventurous young conductors invited by Lara to volunteer.
(Enjoy the photos above, two from Lara Webber and one from the Independent newspaper.)
This was a free outdoor concert with the full symphony orchestra on the Shea stage, highlighting favorite music from stage and screen, popular song, and great classics. Sponsored by the Livermore-Amador Symphony Guild. As Guild President Beth Wilson wrote on 10/23/21, “Many thanks to Nancy McKenzie, who chaired our successful Pops Concert this afternoon! Everything (except the weather) fell into place very well. It only drizzled a tiny bit, although I think the looming clouds probably kept a few people home. Still, the whole event went very smoothly — kudos to Nancy and her team! The tent we purchased definitely came in handy, and we’re sure to use it again at future events.”
The Livermore-Amador Symphony Guild presents annual Pops concerts at which the audiences can enjoy light classical symphonic and pops music in a casual setting. After many years at “the Barn” in Livermore, from 2010 to 2019 the Pops venue was the ballroom of the Livermore community center. The Pops 2020 concert was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. For 2021, with the pandemic lingering, Pops was an afternoon event outdoors.
The Livermore-Amador Symphony provides the music at Pops, with vocal soloists and a few audience sing-alongs. Many in the audience bring something to eat.
For Pops 2010 to 2019, the audience sat at round tables in the Cresta Blanca Room at the Robert Livermore Community Center. Doors opened at 7 p.m., and the concerts began at 8 p.m. Wine, beer, and soft drinks were sold as part of this fundraiser for the Symphony.
POPS Shoots for the Moon!
October 25, 2019
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landing and walk on the moon. The Element 116 jazz band of talented young students was back with leader Matt Finders. New this year were a photo booth, a silent auction, and a raffled chance to sit on stage with the orchestra at a Bankhead Theater rehearsal. Among the costumed audience and orchestra members were workers at NASA’s Mission Control Center, astronauts, a crescent moon, Princess Leia, a viola section featuring Mirror Spock and other Vulcans, members of the military, and an alien from outer space. Music ranged from Moon River to selections from the film The Right Stuff—not to mention the Star Trek main theme conducted by Lara Webber while she wore an arm-constricting inflatable rocketship costume.
POPS: Bernstein on Broadway!
October 26, 2018
The concert celebrated the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth by featuring his music from West Side Story, Candide, and Peter Pan, plus “Times Square” from On the Town and “Ohio” from Wonderful Town. Other Broadway show tunes on the program included, for example, “No Business Like Show Business,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “The Carousel Waltz.” Plus, Matt Finders and Friends made a special appearance.
Heroes and Villains at the POPS
October 20, 2017
Performers included the orchestra, Element 116 jazz band, a guest conductor (for Rossini’s William Tell Overture—i.e., the “Lone Ranger” theme), and singers (Linda Tinney with members of the Las Positas College group Vocal East, Lara Webber, and the audience itself). Villains depicted in the music ranged from a shark to a wicked witch to Darth Vader, while the heroes included both historic and real people (Count Egmont, U.S. armed forces) and fictional or mythical characters (Rocky Balboa, Princess Leia, the Valkyries). Costumed orchestra and audience members appeared to be, for example, Wonder Woman, James Bond, a firefighter still sooty from recent wildfires, Amelia Earhart, Cruella de Vil, astronauts, witches, and Donald Trump.
POPS Groovin’ in the ’60s
October 21, 2016
The orchestra began with the Mission Impossible theme, ended with an encore of the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” and in between enjoyed the sound of music, left its heart in San Francisco, went on a star trek, found Jupiter aligned with Mars, visited Moon River and the Liberty Bell, saw a pink panther and a pinball wizard, and decided that this was the most wonderful time of the year. The vocal trio from 2015 returned: Lara Webber, Linda Tinney, and Scott Kenison went under the boardwalk down by the sea. The Element 116 jazz band was back and groovin’, too—Peter Gunn and Jack hit the road over the bridge across troubled waters yesterday, but, hey, is that Jude?
Dream along with the Pops
October 23, 2015
Music at this concert ranged from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty waltz to Irving Berlin’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” “Dream a Little Dream of Me” featured a vocal trio comprising Music Director Lara Webber, Guild President Linda Tinney, and Scott Kenison, executive director of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center; “Forgotten Dreams” featured Barry Russell, president of Las Positas College, as piano soloist; and the jazz band Element 116 played several numbers, starting with “Dreamsville.”
October 24, 2014
Ursula Goldstein, Lara Webber,
and Mike Portnoff at
“Star-Spangled POPS” in 2014.
In recognition of the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the 2014 Pops concert theme was “Star-Spangled POPS.” (The lyrics of the national anthem are from a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key.) One highlight of this program of American music was the performance of all 4 verses of the national anthem, sung by a well-rehearsed chorus of Livermore High School students joined by community members. Another highlight was the performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever”, conducted by a raffle-winning guest conductor: LAS music director emeritus Arthur P. Barnes. Two baskets of “Star-Spangled” USA goodies and two USA red, white, and blue star-spangled leather motorcycle jackets were raffled. The concert was sold out.
POPS Around the Clock
October 25, 2013
The 2013 Pops concert theme was “POPS Around the Clock”. By October 8, the Friday, October 25, 2013, concert already was sold out.
November 2, 2012
The Pops concert on Friday November 2, 2012, at the Robert Livermore Community Center began the celebration of the Livermore-Amador Symphony’s 50th season—hence the evening’s theme of “Golden Sounds.” The Symphony performed “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “On the Trail,” “Thanks for the Memories,” the overture to Die Fledermaus, and much more.
The event was sold out.
Thanks to a donation to the Symphony Guild in memory of Leroy Green, orchestra members were given t-shirts featuring the LAS 50th-season logo. The orchestra wore their t-shirts at Pops. Music director Art Barnes had a special shirt with the 50th-season logo on front and back, so that the logo was visible to both orchestra and audience as he conducted.
© Livermore-Amador Symphony Association