News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 18, 2012

Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra to present ‘Great American Songbook’


Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra will present “The Great American Songbook,” a uniquely American collection of popular music from Broadway and Hollywood musicals prevalent from the 1920s to the 1960s, at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Scottish Rite Hippodrome Theater.

Many of the songs came from “Tin Pan Alley,” a name given to the collection of music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the U.S. from the late 19th century well into the 20th century.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for children under 10; they may be purchased at the door.

Ronn Mott, well-known as a Civil War historian and the voice of WAXI radio and currently a columnist for the Tribune-Star, will narrate the concert. To open the show, Jerry Burns, an actor and singer who is also an authority on both Tin Pan Alley and light opera, will sing “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.”  This will be followed by the famous big band theme song, Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade.”

A program on the Great American Songbook must include some selections by the quintessential big band singer, Francis Albert Sinatra. Although Sinatra did not write music, he had enormous influence over popular music during his lifetime. He almost singlehandedly helped lead a revival of vocalized swing music that took American pop to a new level of sophistication. The orchestra is performing a medley that includes some of Sinatra’s most famous songs.

Music continues to be added to the Songbook, and one example is the 2003 musical “Wicked.” Based on the novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” it tells the story of the Land of Oz from the point of view of the witches. This medley will be followed by a standard written in 1932 by Edward Kennedy Ellington, “Sophisticated Lady.” This arrangement features the string section under the direction of Rodney Foster, assistant conductor.

A popular song written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1928, “Embraceable You,” is arranged by Calvin Custer and again features the string section with a flugelhorn solo performed by Music Director Jim Chesterson. “Skylark” was composed by one of Indiana’s own, Howard Hoagland Carmichael, in collaboration with Johnny Mercer in 1942.

Alfred Newman, who lived from 1901 to 1970, along with composers Max Steiner and Dimitri Tiomkin, is considered one of the three godfathers of film music and played a major part in creating the tradition of composing original music for films. The orchestra will play the music from “Street Scene,” a melody that will be recognizable as it has been used in several films in addition to “Street Scene.”

For further information contact the Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra at 812-535-6440 or visit www.terrehautecommunityband.org.