Tucson Pops Orchestra kicks off fall series with new music director | Music

Khris Dodge will shine a spotlight on Tucson when he takes the podium of the Tucson Pops Orchestra for the first time as its new music director Sunday, Sept. 11.

“Celebrate Tucson!” featuring Linda Ronstadt’s niece, Mindy Ronstadt, kicks off the 68th fall “Music Under the Stars” series at Reid Park’s DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center. The younger Ronstadt will perform some of her aunt’s hits, all of them arranged for orchestra by Dodge, including “Desperado” and the breakthrough hit “You’re No Good.”

“And you know we’re going to have to do ‘Blue Bayou,'” said Dodge, who added that the song will include a verse in Spanish written by Linda Ronstadt’s father. “You can’t not do that.”

People are also reading…

The Sept. 11 concert kicks off Dodge’s tenure after he was named last spring to replace longtime Pops Music Director László Veres. Veres had been at the podium with the orchestra for 32 years.

Dodge will lead the orchestra, comprised of moonlighting Tucson Symphony Orchestra members, in three concerts this fall.

“We have a lot of cool stuff that I’m trying to do, and … I’m excited,” said Dodge, a longtime fixture in Tucson’s music scene who spent 20 years as orchestra director of Arizona Opera before launching his own Khris Dodge Entertainment company eight or nine years ago.

“We want to do great music on the stage, and if the orchestra is engaged in the great music we’re playing, then the audience will be,” said Dodge, who also is executive director of the HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival, held in late January.

Dodge, who has built the programs of the parks series around specific themes, said one of his goals is to present accessible music “that people will find recognizable” alongside new or lesser known works. The series’ second concert is built around the theme of classic rock from the 1960s and ’70s, featuring a cover band fronted by Tucson native Nick Gallardo and a classic car show. The series closes with the Pops debut of Tucson pianist and arranger Jeffrey Haskell and vocalist Katherine Byrnes.

Dodge said he hopes to build on Veres’ 32-year legacy with the Pops and grow its audience to include more young families and diversity.

“I hope that through the efforts that I bring with the orchestra, it will continue its tradition to be an orchestra that provides music for our whole community,” he said.

Admission to Music Under the Stars concerts, which begin at 7 pm Sundays Sept. 11-25, is free, but donations are accepted. Concerts are held at Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way, near East 22nd Street and South Country Club Road.



Nick Gallardo, right, and Not Fade Away will join the Tucson Pops Orchestra on Sept. 18.


Courtesy of Not Fade Away

  • Sept. 11 — Linda Ronstadt’s niece, Mindy Ronstadt, joins the orchestra for “Celebrate Tucson!” a concert that blends the music of the Old West with Tucson’s Mexican heritage as contemporary works that define Tucson. Expect to hear Ronstadt sing some of her aunt’s most iconic tunes. The Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum will also have a display of vintage horse wagons.
  • Sept. 18 — The classic rock band Not Fade Away will join the orchestra for “The Classics Concert: Classical Music, Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and Classic Cars.” The program pulls from great classical music and classic 1950s and ’60s rock, including hits from Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, along with a vintage classic car show courtesy of the Rotary Clubs of Tucson.
  • Sept. 25 — The Tucson Pops Night of Jazz features special guests jazz pianist Jeffrey Haskell, making his pops debut, and vocalist Katherine Byrnes, as well as classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala. Dodge says this may be the first Pops “Jazzer” concert, featuring works by Bach and Gershwin and timeless classics.

Photos: Tucson Pops maestro László Veres conducts final concert

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres faces the crowd while conducting his last song during his final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022. After 30 years with the Tucson Pops Orchestra, Maestro Veres has retired. Veres has been conductor and music director of the Tucson Pops Orchestra since 1992.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres, right, smiles while talking with a former student Amanda Glenn via FaceTime as well as talking with Glenn’s best friend and friend of Veres Amy Roberts, center, and another former student Amber Roberts before Veres’s final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres blows kisses towards the crowd as they cheer for him during Veres’s final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

An emotional Maestro László Veres smiles while receiving a surprise gift from his granddaughter Karylin Veres during Veres’s final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022. Karylin, who lives in Chicago, flew out to Tucson to surprise her grandfather who was not aware she would be attending.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Susan Putt holds up a “Love You Laszlo” sign while Maestro László Veres speaks to the crowd during Veres’s final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres, left, receives flowers from his wife Fran Veres during Veres’s final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres set up his music stand while audience members fill the grass before his final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres conducts during his final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

László Veres retires from Tucson Pop Orchestra

Maestro László Veres conducts “God Bless America” ​​towards the crowd during his final concert with the Tucson Pops Orchestra at George DeMeester Performance Center inside Reid Park in Tucson, Ariz. on June 12, 2022.


Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch

.

Comments are closed.