Boyz II Men, David Bowie, the Beach Boys and Queen are on their way to West Michigan this summer.
Boyz II Men really are coming to town for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops. As for the rest, it’s songs sung by Ziggy Stardust, Brian Wilson and Freddie Mercury that are coming to Cannonsburg Ski Area.
Rock on with the Grand Rapids Pops at the 22nd annual Picnic Pops opening this week.
“Fabulous, famous and popular music that all members of the audience – young and old – will love,” said Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt.
But first comes the fireworks.
The D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops opens at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 14 and 15 with “Classical Fireworks” a Picnic Pops tradition since the series was launched in 1995, with classical favorites ending with a pyrotechnic display to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
This year’s show comes with a new twist.
Grand Rapids Pops goes to the movies is a secondary theme for the 2016 season.
All-time, classical blockbusters such as Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Mozart’s Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” are part of the show.
“Ride of the Valkyries,” from Wagner’s cycle of music dramas, “The Ring of the Nibelung,” has been heard in films such as “Apocalypse Now.” Mozart’s Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” served as the opening theme for “Trading Places.”
The adagio from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony sets the scene in “The King’s Speech” for King George V’s dramatic radio address to the British people, announcing that the United Kingdom was at war with Nazi Germany.
Guest vocalist Mela Dailey joins the Grand Rapids Symphony to sing three arias from operas including “La Bohème” and “La Rondine.”
If you haven’t heard of Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” you may have heard the aria, “O mio babbino caro.” It’s music that comedian Rowan Atkinson pantomimes to in “Mr. Bean’s Holiday.”
“The Three Puccini arias she’ll sing will definitely be highlights of the show for me,” Bernhardt said.
A famous melody such as “The Blue Danube Waltz” needs no further introduction. But the well-known piece by Johann Strauss Jr., actually titled “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” appears prominently in “2001: A Space Odyssey”
“As gentle and soothing as it may be, it still can be beautifully effective outdoors, and it lets the Grand Rapids Symphony shine,” Bernhardt said.
All of that plus music by Felix Mendelssohn and Leo Delibes was written for other purposes and adapted for cinematic use. But music directly from the movies is part of the show, including highlights from John Williams’ scores to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “ET – The Extraterrestrial.”
Come back next season and see and hear your Grand Rapids Symphony screen both “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “ET: The Extra Terrestrial” – the entire, full-length film, accompanied by the Grand Rapids Symphony playing the score live in DeVos Performance Hall.