2010 – 2011 Season


Saturday, October 16, The POPS opens its 15th season with featured piano soloist, Louis Stewart, at its opening concert entitled “Symphonic Jubilation.”

“Our fifteenth season is expected to be the most musically outstanding effort yet, and we are pleased and proud to host Louis Stewart’s return to the Panama City POPS stage,” states Connie Gittard, President of the organization’s Board of Directors.

Stewart commissioned “Music for Panama City” for the POPS’ January 2009 performance celebrating the Panama City Centennial. At the October 16 concert he will perform George Gershwin’s 1924 American classic, “Rhapsody in Blue.”

“At the time it was written, the purpose of that piece was to be purely educational,” explains Maestro Eddie Rackley. “Gershwin’s intent was to provide music that would make it simple for the masses to understand, and therefore enjoy, symphony. Almost nine decades later it is still hugely popular with symphony audiences. Mr. Stewart’s deft touch will elevate this piece even further.”

Additionally, Stewart will play piano on five waltzes composed by Jack Jarrett. Mr. Jarrett will be in the POPS audience that evening. “Jack Jarrett has become a true friend,” adds Rackley. “His dedication and support have enabled the Orchestra to sound even richer, and it will be an honor to play for him.”

The program promises to be impressive. Other pieces on that program for the evening include Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty Waltz”; Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” (from Enigma Variations); “Slovanic Dances” by Dvorak; and two choral mountings from Haydn’s “The Creation.”

The second half of the evening will particularly showcase the POPS’ brass section. “Fanfare for the New Millenium” composed by Kevin Kaska, also featured at the 2009 Centennial program is a brass extravaganza reports Rackley. The orchestra will also play a lush arrangement of De Bussy’s “Claire de Lune” and a big band medley of composer/band leader, Duke Ellington’s most popular hits. “Memory” from the musical, Cats, will round out the evening.

Finally, that evening’s audience will be treated to the POPS’ usual uplifting encore. While it is Maestro Rackley’s custom to reveal the piece only at the time of its delivery, he has dropped a hint with regard to the evening’s post script. “Featuring a vocal duet popularized by Andre Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, it’s sure to bring the house down.”

Mr. Stewart, 64, is a native of Aberdeen, WA. Currently an Associate Professor on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music, he is a graduate of the New England Conservatory in Boston and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Specializing in new music, he has conducted and played premieres in New York, Seattle, Boston and Baltimore, and has guest conducted in the United States and Southeast Asia.

From 1971 to 1977 Mr. Stewart was pianist and assistant conductor with the Martha Graham Dance Company where he was involved with several revivals, premieres and international tours. In 1976 he was invited to play a performance at the White House as part of a special ceremony honoring Martha Graham. He has also authored two film and several theatrical scores, and is a recording artist for Denouement Records.

Jack Jarrett

Mr. Jarrett’s academic credentials include a B.A. from the University of Florida; an M.A. from the Eastman School of Music; a Diploma in Conducting from the Berlin Hochschule für Musik; and a Doctor of Music in Composition from Indiana University. From 1989 to 1999 he was Chairman of the Composition Department at the Berklee College of Music. Currently he is Professor of Composition at the same institution. He is the recipient of several awards and scholarships, including a Fulbright Scholarship.

All 2010-2011 season concerts will be presented at 7:30 p.m. at Arnold High School Auditorium, Alf Coleman Drive, Panama City Beach under the direction of Maestro Eddie Rackley.