When Rolling Stone magazine first published its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” women were few and far between.
Of the top 50 albums on this list first published in 2003, only four, including Carole King’s “Tapestry,” at No. 36, were by women either as solo artists or as part of groups.
Yet female artists have played a major role as recording artists in the history of pop/rock music.
The Grand Rapids Symphony’s D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops showcases many of the first ladies of music in a show titled Women Rock, featuring the music of Carole King and many others.
The salute to the songs written or recorded by Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and more will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, July 27-28, at Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Road NE.
Lawn tickets to Women Rock are $19 for adults, $16 for college students and seniors, or $5 for ages 2-18. Children younger than age 2 are admitted for free. All tickets are $5 more on the day of the show.
Call the Grand Rapids Symphony’s at (616) 454-9451 ext. 4 during business hours or (616) 885-1241 evenings or go online to PicnicPops.org
Two-time Grammy nominated producer, conductor and musician Robert Thompson -- who taught at Hope College and performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony in the late 1980s and early 1990s -- guest conducts the Grand Rapids Pops’ third concert of the 23rd annual Picnic Pops series.
In fact, Women Rock is a brand new show that just debuted in June, arranged by Grammy Award-winning arranger and conductor Jeff Tyzik, featuring songs such as Carole King’s You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin’s Freeway and Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart.
Many songs were composed by women, including Carole King, but also Holly Knight, who wrote Love is a Battlefield for Pat Benatar and The Best, recorded by Tina Turner. Both are part of the show.
"There's this great legacy of female songwriter who put the 'rock' in 'rock and roll," said Thompson, who collaborated personally with both King and Knight while developing the show.
Women Rock pays homage to some of the biggest stars and best-known female singers of the past 50 years including Martha Reeves, Joan Jett and Heart, singing iconic songs including Dancing in the Street, I Love Rock and Roll and These Dreams.
“Right now, in the climate that we’re in, it’s a very big moment for women,” said Jami Greenberg, producer of Women Rock. “I think a lot of people feel that around the country and around the world. But this is not a political show. It’s about harnessing the power that women have.”
Three of Broadway’s brightest stars – Cassidy Catanzaro, Katrina Rose Dideriksen and Shayna Steele – sing 17 of the songs that changed the course of rock music.
Check out a sampler of Women Rock on YouTube.
Two songs in the show, Love is a Battlefield recorded by Pat Benatar, and The Best, recorded by Tina Turner, were written by Holly Knight, a 2013 inductee into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and one of the most successful songwriters of the past 40 years.
Cassidy Catanzaro, featuring in several songs by Carole King, is a 2017 Grammy Award nominated singer and songwriter. The former lead singer and songwriter of the all-female rock band Antigone Rising, she has sold nearly 2 million albums and toured the U.S. following a record deal with both Starbuck’s Hear and Atlantic Records. She released her third solo album,What is REAL, in April 2016 and toured with legendary acts such as The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
Katrina Rose Dideriksen, who starred in A Night with Janis Joplin on Broadway, serving as understudy for the lead, also has appeared as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. In regional and touring productions, she has starred as Mimi in Rent, as Rizzo in Grease, and in Legally Blonde.
Shayna Steele, who recently starred in NBC-TV’s Hairspray Live! has appeared on Broadway in Rent and in Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2014, she was a featured performer at multiple festivals with Grammy-winner Snarky Puppy. She worked as a sideman for a wide range of artists including Bette Midler, Lizz Wright, Natasha Bedingfield, Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. She is a vocalist with the Grammy-nominated Broadway Inspirational Voices.
Gates at Cannonsburg Ski Area for the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops open at 5:45 p.m. each night for picnicking and pre-concert entertainment, including free, kid-friendly activities such as face painting, crafts, and a musical instrument petting zoo.
Pack your own picnic baskets and coolers or purchase food from the grill at the Cannonsburg concession stand. Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the grounds, and parking is free for concertgoers. VIP Parking upgrades will be available for a small fee beginning in June. .
Capping off the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops in August are two one-night only, special events, both at 8 p.m. Join the Grand Rapids Pops for the audience favorite Classical Fireworks show on Aug. 3 with Music Director Marcelo Lehninger making his debut at Cannonsburg
The 2017 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops concludes with mariachi music direct from Mexico. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán , which toured and recorded with Linda Ronstadt in the 1980s, tops off the summer on Aug. 5.