Pasadena, CA – Principal Pops Conductor Michael Feinstein kicks off the Pasadena POPS 2021 Sierra Summer Concert series on Saturday, July 10 with The Road to Motown. The POPS season opener will take a ride through the evolution of jazz and boogie-woogie from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to the soulful sound of the Temptations and Supremes. Hear Motown favorites “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Can’t Help Myself,” “My Girl” and many more, all in symphonic sound by Pasadena’s premiere orchestra.
The Road to Motown program will also honor the Supremes’ Mary Wilson, who was originally slated to perform before her recent passing. Feinstein will be using some of Wilson’s own charts for songs including “Someday We’ll Be Together” and “Reflections,” sung by Wilson’s close friend and “Mississippi Sister” Thelma Houston. The Fifth Dimension’s Grammy Award-winning duo Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., and the premiere Motown singing sensation, Spectrum will also be performing the greatest hits of the Motown era.
In order to provide the safest possible experience for all concertgoers, entry to all Pasadena POPS concerts will require proof of receiving a fully completed Covid-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to the concert date. For the most up to date venue safety protocols, visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org/covid-19-safety-protocols-pops.
All concerts are held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. Grounds open for picnicking and dining at 5:30pm and performances begin at 7:30pm. Don’t miss the best outdoor dinner party in town with spacious circular table seating with fine linens, or lawn seating for those who want to bring a blanket – each option carries on the tradition of picnic-dining with your family and friends with Michael Feinstein and the San Gabriel Valley’s premier orchestra! Among many venue amenities, concert goers can enjoy pre-ordered gourmet box dinners for on-site pickup just steps from their table or a variety of food truck options.
The Arboretum is located at 301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA. Subscribers may purchase pre-paid onsite parking at the Arboretum, and all concertgoers can purchase guaranteed and convenient parking at Santa Anita Park, with complimentary non-stop shuttle service to the Arboretum’s main entrance.
Single tickets start at $25. Season subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale, and are available by calling the box office at (626)-793-7172, online at PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or at the Arboretum on concert days.
IF YOU GO:
- What: The Pasadena POPS presents the Road to Motown.
Michael Feinstein, Principal Pops Conductor
Thelma Houston, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., and Spectrum, special guests
- When: July 10, 2021. Concert starts at 7:30pm. Gates open at 5:30pm.
- Where: The LA County Arboretum | 301 N Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
- Cost: Tickets start at $25.00
- Dining: Gates open at 5:30pm for picnicking. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drink or pre-order from onsite food vendors.
- Parking: Subscribers have the opportunity to purchase onsite Arboretum parking. Single ticket holders may purchase guaranteed and convenient parking at Santa Anita Park, located just across Baldwin Ave., with complimentary non-stop shuttle service to the Arboretum’s main entrance.
The Pasadena Symphony Association
Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” Los Angeles Times.
“…full of pulsating energy from first note to last… the strings were lushly resonant, the wind principals were at the top of their games, and the brass rang out with gleaming vigor.” –Pasadena Star News.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.
The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor, David Lockington, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.
A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO) comprised of five performing ensembles, with over 250 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region. The PYSO Symphony often performs on the popular television show GLEE.
The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.
Principal Pops Conductor
Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy.
This summer intensive open to students from across the country has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas from Concord Records. The CD features Grammy Award -winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole). Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.
His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook,” the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” – written and directed by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry – aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels,” Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.
Michael’s book The Gershwins and Me – the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster – features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.
Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010 he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his new club in New York, late in 2015. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.
He has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.
In 2013 Michael released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four time Oscar and eleven time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Michael’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.
Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously-unreleased tracks.
Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.
Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.
For more information, please visit www.MichaelFeinstein.com.
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., are the voices, Original Stars and lead singers of the legendary group, The 5th Dimension, before leaving the Group in 1975. McCoo and Davis launched Champagne and Pop Soul Classics, including “Up, Up and Away,” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Worst That Could Happen,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” and “One Less Bell to Answer.” After leaving The 5th Dimension, Marilyn and Billy recorded “You Don’t Have to be a Star (to Be in My Show),” a chart topping number 1 record, won them their own Grammy Award and a television series on CBS. They are named by Billboard, “The First Couple of Pop and Soul.”
Billy, devoted his efforts to a successful gospel music career and Marilyn performed in television’s “Solid Gold.” The couple enjoys tremendous success through the years as recording artists, performers and authors. They have received a total of 7 Grammy Awards, earned 15 gold and 3 platinum records.
After many decades of performing, Thelma Houston continues to celebrate her long and outstanding career and shows no signs of slowing down! Over the course of many years, promoters have been asking Thelma, when is she going to return to her Motown roots? After much thought, Thelma has decided that the timing was right to launch a brand new band show called: “THELMA HOUSTON’s MOTOWN Experience” The show features non-stop classic Motown songs (that we all know and love,) along with a tribute to Ms. Houston’s friend, the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin!Thelma was asked to join a stellar list of artists honoring the illustrious career of the late Donna Summer, who Thelma knew. Thelma recorded covers of Donna’s classic songs: “Last Dance,” Could it Be Magic?” and “I Love You.”
Thelma’s 23rd album, “A Woman’s Touch”, was released recently through Shout Factory Records (distributed by Sony/BMG) and offers her rich interpretations of many classic R&B and pop recordings originally made famous by such male vocalists as Luther Vandross, Rev. Al Green, Sting and Marvin Gaye.
A Mississippi native, Thelma started out in the 60’s performing in gospel music with the Art Reynolds Singers. She then signed to Capitol Records (home of the Beatles, Nat King Cole and Nancy Wilson) in 1967 and had her first hit song called “Baby Mine.”
Soon Thelma was courted by several record labels and signed with ABC/Dunhill where she recorded and released her first solo album called “Sunshower” which was written, arranged, and produced by the legendary Jimmy Webb. After this critically acclaimed album was released, Thelma decided to accept an offer from one of the biggest record companies around, Motown Records.
With Motown Records, Thelma claimed the top of the Pop, R&B and Dance charts with her high-powered rendition of “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” That Gold Record classic gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist at Motown to win the Grammy Award for “Best R&B Female Vocal Performance.”
Known as a humanitarian for her charitable causes and her tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS, the City of West Hollywood proclaimed January 29th as “Thelma Houston Day” in 2003. She has donated her talents to numerous charities including Devine Design for Project Angel Food, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Minority AIDS Project, to which she donated her $20,000 winnings from the TV show Hit Me Baby. She is also very active in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP.
Thelma has rocked Rockefeller Center on NBC’s The Today Show and the summer music special “Hit Me Baby, One More Time.” She dazzled in ABC’s Motown 45 and glittered on ABC’s The Disco Ball. Along with Aretha Franklin and Mary Wilson, she raised the roof on Love, Rhythm and Blues for PBS. Thelma appeared with Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples and CeCe Peniston as the “Sisters of Glory” in New York City in a rousing performance that received a special request to perform at The Vatican for The Pope.
The legendary Nile Rogers called upon Thelma to be his special guest for a sold-out concert at the Hollywood Bowl and she toured with Cher on her Living Proof Concert Tour. Additionally, she headlined at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. Thelma has also been inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in New York City and honored as an “Apollo Legend” on the syndicated hit TV show, Showtime at the Apollo.
In April 2009, Thelma was honored to perform on the #1 rated television show in the USA, Fox’s American Idol, where she tore it up for an estimated audience of over 25 million people. Shortly after, Thelma was called upon to open up the finale of the hit summer show, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, for an estimated TV audience of over 18 million people.
Thelma performs at many national dinner receptions for the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and was honored to perform in Denver when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. In January 2009, Thelma then was asked to headline the official inauguration dinner for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., at the Mayflower Hotel along with her friends, Cyndi Lauper and Melissa Etheridge. HRC President Joe Solmonese says, “It doesn’t get much better than Thelma, as she adds nothing but class to our events.”
In early 2020 Thelma collaborated with Morrissey on “Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know.” “It was interesting and fun working in the studio,” he said. “I enjoy performing very much. The performance part of my job is what I enjoy the most. When I perform, I like to do all kinds of music and I try to incorporate that in my show. For me, to do one kind of thing all the time is boring. Morrissey heard the song and a few years later, he asked me to do this song on his album. It was very easy to work with Morrissey in the studio,” she said.
Also released in early 2020 is the dance single “Turn Your World Around” (on Radikal Records) with Bimbo Jones. “I’ve worked with Lee Dagger from Bimbo Jones before. He has done some remixes for me. That’s how the song came about. We wrote the song a few years ago and it was a lot of fun.” The song was worked on the Billboard Dance Charts and went all the way to #7.
The summer of 2020 finds Thelma teaming up with the legendary Jimmy Webb (who wrote and produced Thelma’s critically acclaimed debut album called “Sunshower.”) to remake an updated version (with new lyrics from Jimmy) of the song (and video) called “Someone is Standing Outside.” The reaction on social media to this new version of this classic song has been unbelievable.
Over the summer Thelma filmed her first virtual concert called “Thelma Houston Virtually Yours” that debuts on the Wale Rocks streaming platform in Oct. This concert was filmed outdoors and takes you on a musical journey featuring songs from Disco, Dance, Gospel and Motown.
With appearances from Tokyo to Las Vegas to London and beyond, Thelma continues to bring audiences to their feet with her dynamic, energetic Motown show. This Diva logs over 200 performances annually and the singer/songwriter is enjoying every moment of her success. “I still feel a tremendous excitement about performing,” states the upbeat songstress. “I have so many more things I want to do, and I have NO plans to retire anytime soon.”
Thelma’s main home is in Los Angeles, CA.
Spectrum draws upon the talent of four radiant voices and diverse personalities to form a first class vocal quartet. Spending six stellar years portraying the Four Tops in the multi-million dollar production show Legends In Concert, the group developed the versatility to credibly cover the
music of groups from the The Platters to The Jackson Five, from The Righteous Brothers to the Beatles or from Boyz to Men to The Four Seasons. This versatility has propelled them to headline their own shows where they perform stirring renditions of the best cover tunes.
Spectrum’s credits include European and Australian tours, innumerable headline performances aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises and over 100 performances with 50 different symphonies throughout North America. Spectrum was twice voted Best of Las Vegas, earned the Vegas Living Legends Award and joined the ranks of Vegas luminaries Wayne Newton, Sammy Davis Jr., Liberace and Siegfried and Roy when awarded a star on Las Vegas’ Walk of Fame.
Spectrum has starred in six major production shows, appeared on numerous television shows and performed the National Anthem at major sporting events.
The group boasts four incredible singers, each with the voice of a solo artist, who combine their voices and dexterity to create angelic harmonies and deft choreography that have become trademarks of Spectrum. Spectrum consists of Jeron Lovings of Oklahoma City, Pierre Jovan from Chicago, David Prescott of Rochester, NY and group Founder Cushney Roberts, from East Orange, New Jersey. This group of well-mannered, college-educated, world-traveled veterans of the entertainment business, will entertain you!