Photo by Scott Preston
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra returns to the grounds of the Union Central Life Insurance Co. in Forest Park, OH for one of its most popular annual community concerts on Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m. Under the baton of Pops Conductor John Morris Russell, the full Pops Orchestra presents a wide lineup of music ranging from American and Broadway standards to themes from blockbuster movies. Familiar tunes such as Copland’s Rodeo, “Shenandoah,” “Red River Valley,” and “This Land is Your Land”add wistful emotion to this family-friendly concert. Movie fans will recognize themes from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Chicago. The Comet Bluegrass All Stars, the popular bluegrass band made famous for its Sunday night performances at The Comet in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood. The All Stars previously performed with the Pops as part of the opening ceremonies of the World Choir Games, and will be part of the January 2014 American Originals: Live at Music Hall concert and recording. The Comet Bluegrass All Stars add their vibrant musical colors and energy to the Concert on the Green.
This concert is free and open to the public. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic during the performance. “Concert on the Green” typically attracts fans by the thousands and is just part of the Orchestra’s robust summer offerings. Visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org/community for a full schedule.
John Morris Russell, Cincinnati Pops Conductor A remarkable artist with boundless enthusiasm for music-making of all kinds, John Morris Russell is a modern conductor who engages and enthralls audiences with the full breadth of the orchestral experience. Now in his third season as Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Russell’s diverse programming and electric stage presence have infused new creativity and energy into one of the world’s most iconic pops orchestras.
Consistently winning international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership, this Ohio native is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina. A popular guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada, he also holds the title of Conductor Laureate with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he served as Music Director for eleven years.
Mr. Russell has collaborated with generations of great performers including the late Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, as well as Idina Menzel, Vince Gill, Branford Marsalis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Hilty, Michael McDonald, George Takei, Amy Grant, Brian Wilson, Katharine McPhee and Marvin Winans.
His two recordings released with the Cincinnati Pops on the Orchestra’s Fanfare Cincinnati label, Home for the Holidays and Superheroes!, have both appeared on the Billboard charts.
A sought-after guest conductor across the continent, Mr. Russell returns to the Hollywood Bowl this summer to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a trio of concerts. Other recent engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among many other ensembles.
The Comet Bluegrass All Stars
The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars were assembled in 1996 and became the house band at the Northside neighborhood bar The Comet. The band soon gained popularity beyond the lounge at the Comet and has performed at the opening ceremonies of the World Choir Games as guests of the world renowned Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; opened for bands such as Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, and Sam Bush; and has won numerous music awards. Fans of the band range from children to senior citizens from all walks of life. The repertoire of the band is very broad covering numerous genres in the bluegrass framework. Audiences soon discover that in addition to fine instrumental work, each member sings as well, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.