Friday, November 22, 2019

Tucson, AZ: Tucson Pops at Reid Park

Tucson Pops, Reid Park, Tucson, Arizona. September 2019.

The Tucson Pops fall season has been going on for 65 years.

Next year is the last year that long-time conductor, László Veres, will lead the orchestra. He's been the maestro for circa 25 years, and is now 82 years old.

The organization, with audience input, has been auditioning would-be successors over a three-year arc.

One of my Tucson cultural interpreters invited me to accompany him to the September 15 performance, at which one of the conductor hopefuls, Khris Dodge, served himself up for the audience's tasting.

It just so happened that my friend and I sat right next to Mr. Dodge's parents! They live in Phoenix, and drove to Tucson for this performance. Very pleasant people, both accomplished musicians.

Below is Mr. Dodge's interpretation of Gershwin's Summertime:

I have several versions of Summertime. But they are legion. I met a man in Caucasus Georgia who claimed to have more than 200 covers of Summertime.

There's Janis Joplin's classic cover, of course.

I have a reggae Summertime by Keisha Patterson:

Some argue that Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald's cover is the best:

But getting back to the September 15 Tucson Pops evening.

The lawn in front of the amphitheater was packed with music lovers, with strong representation from silverhairs. Most brought dinner, beverages, or snacks. They sat in chairs or on blankets. You've got to arrive pretty early to claim a good patch of grass.

My friend brought a white wine. I contributed chicken livers, pickled herring, crackers, and plums.

Picnicking on a grassy incline on a pleasant evening, surrounded by lively music - a luxury of life.

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