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The Valley Line

July 24, 2008|By Jane Napier Neely

The Pasadena Pops theme this weekend was “In the Heat of the Night” which would have been more apt for last month’s concert when it was sweltering.

I missed the Pops’ first concert so I was eager to see and hear the many changes the orchestra has made in one year. The sound mixing was the best it has ever been. Bravo to you fabulous “techies.” The orchestra, made up mostly of Pasadena Symphony musicians, were more in number than last year’s Pops orchestra which made for a fuller sound. I was thrilled to hear the French horn solo by my buddy Jim Thatcher. Several years ago I did a feature article about Jim and his masterful musicianship.

New to the Pops stage this weekend were poet/performers Steve Connell and Sekou Andrews who called upon all of us to remember our childhoods and the scary things that go bump in the night. They also brought us sharply up to adulthood and the way we all face different kinds of fears. But they left us with the peace and memories of childhood once again as they recited some of the lines from the children’s classic book, “Goodnight Moon,” written by Margaret Wise Brown. By the way, Norman Lear, famed TV/ film writer and producer, discovered the extraordinary talents of Connell and Andrews. He was at Saturday night’s performance with three of his children and some friends.

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Piano Virtuoso, Daniel Lessner enchanted the audience with Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1” and Bernard Hermann’s “Hangover Square” from Concerto Macabre excerpt (Themes and Variations).

Nmon Ford, a magnificent baritone who is becoming a “regular” with the POPS spun his usual magic with several selections including: “The Music of the Night” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Night and Day” by Cole Porter. He left us in a cozy mood by singing the “Lion King’s” “Can you feel the Love Tonight.” After such a fabulous concert, I think we all were feeling the love that night.

JANE NAPIER NEELY has covered society events for the Valley Sun for 26 years. She can be reached at jnvalleysun@aol.com.

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