music under the stars

May 12, 2022

Arrive early for Kids Korner, featuring face painting, balloon animals, a musical instrument petting zoo and performance by Bob Baker Marionette Theater!

Music under the starsPasadena, CA – Stars of stage and screen will illuminate the night sky when the Pasadena Symphony and POPS presents its annual free Music Under the Stars concert on Saturday, June 4 at Pasadena City Hall’s Centennial Square. Presented with sponsorship support from Bank of America, Music Under the Stars will bring Pasadena’s premiere orchestra free to the community for one night only. This year’s concert will have the city “Dancin’ in the Streets” with popular favorites from West Side Story, Chicago, Hairspray, Greatest Showman, Pharrell Williams and more. Highlights include “All that Jazz,” “Big Spender,” “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” and “Happy” among other classics.

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS annual free concert for the community is back and better than ever with fun for the whole family. The family fun begins at 6:00pm with picnicking, food trucks and the all-new Kids Korner, featuring free face painting, balloon animals and a musical instrument petting zoo, where kids of all ages can discover the wonder of creating their own music with the instruments of the orchestra. Families who arrive early will also be treated to a special performance by Bob Baker Marionette Theater at 7:00pm.

The Music Under the Stars orchestra will be led by Resident POPS Conductor Larry Blank, who will welcome the Donald Brinegar Singers, JPL Chorus and three guest vocalists to the stage. A Disney regular, the multi-Grammy® and Emmy®-winning Laura Dickinson’s voice has appeared on Sofia the First, both Frozen films, Elena of Avalor, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mulan, as well as on Michael Bublé’s Nobody But Me album. A true triple-threat, Tony-nominated actor, singer and dancer Valarie Pettiford has appeared on Broadway and the West End in Fosse, West Side Story and Chicago among others and has numerous television credits under her belt including The Blacklist, Blackish, True Blood and Treme. To round out the pack, Matthew Johnson’s expert dancing will get the audience on their feet. Trained through Alvin Ailey and by his mentor Debbie Allen, Johnson has performed with the likes of Pharrell, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Childish Gambino and Stevie Wonder.

This family-friendly event is presented with support from Bank of America. As a leading corporate supporter of the arts around the world, Bank of America provides steadfast and strategic support to nonprofit arts and culture presenters at the local level and leading world-class arts entities. Programs like the Art Conservation ProjectMuseums on Us®Art in Our Communities and the Masterpiece Moment video series, along with sponsorships and grants, are designed to have a positive impact on economies and societies throughout the world, and shine a light on diverse cultural traditions.

Music Under the Stars is also supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Department of Arts and Culture.

Gates open at 6:00pm for Kids Korner; Bob Baker Marionette Theater performance begins at 7:00pm; and Music Under the Stars Concert begins at 8:00pm. Admission to this event is free, and guests are encouraged to bring a picnic, blanket and low-back chairs. Rental chairs will also be available for purchase. For more information, visit PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or call 626.793.7172.

IF YOU GO
  • What: Bank of America presents Music Under the Stars with the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
  • Artists:
    Larry Blank, conductor
    Laura Dickinson, Matthew Johnson and Valarie Pettifordsoloists

    Bob Baker Marionette Theater, pre-concert entertainment
  • When: Saturday, June 4, 2022.
    6:00pm: Gates open for food truck and Kids Korner.
    7:00-7:30pm: Bob Baker Marionette Theater performs.
    8:00pm: Concert begins. 
  • Where: Pasadena City Hall Centennial Square
  • Cost: Free, Chair Rentals $5.
  • Parking: Plaza Las Fuentes structure (enter on Union and Los Robles Ave); the parking structure at 330 E. Union (between Euclid and Garfield); Paseo Colorado subterranean garage (entrances on Colorado and Green St.). Metered street parking is also available on nearby streets.
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ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Larry Blank
Conductor

Resident Pops Conductor, Larry Blank is one of the most prolific and sought after composers, conductors, and orchestrators in the entertainment business today. His work has been presented all over the world, including some of Broadway’s most successful musicals, Carnegie Hall, and top television and film projects.

Larry has received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his orchestrations of Catch Me If You Can, The Drowsy Chaperone and White Christmas. Larry also received Drama Desk nominations for A Christmas Story and Honeymoon in Vegas.

Other Broadway orchestrations can be heard in the Lincoln Centre production of The Nance as well as Fame Becomes Me, La Cage aux Folles, The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails.

Larry is currently orchestrating Roman Holiday (Golden Gate Theatre, San Francisco).

Recent projects include Holiday Inn (Universal/Roundabout Theater); Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End and Tour); Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath, West End & Toronto); The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville) and Mack & Mabel (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK Tour).

In the West End, Larry orchestrated City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse); White Christmas (Dominion); Singin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre, UK tour, Japan, International tour, Russia and Australia); Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, The Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls, The Producers, The Beautiful and Damned and Mack & Mabel.  

Larry’s film orchestrations can be heard in The Producers and Chicago. Larry was the conductor/arranger/orchestrator for Jerry Herman’s title song for the film Barney’s Great Adventure, sung by Bernadette Peters, as well as orchestrating/arranging two songs for South Park for Marc Shaiman; music supervisor/orchestrator for Jerry Herman’s Mrs Santa Claus with Angela Lansbury; arranger/orchestrator for the films What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, The Kid, Kiss the Girls, The American President, Forget Paris, City Slickers II: the Legend of Curly’s Gold, The Net, That’s Entertainment! III, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Bogus, North, Speechless, I’d Do Anything, Stuart Saves His Family, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Jungle Book 2 and Cats Don’t Dance; composer for two episodes of the television series In the Heat of the Night, as well as music for Sweating Bullets and the Grammys.

Larry has arranged and/or conducted for Barbra Streisand, Michael Feinstein (including two tours of Australia and New Zealand), Marilyn Horne, Michael Crawford, Christine Andreas, Joe Williams, Yanni, Marvin Hamlisch, Bernadette Peters, Steve Lawrence, Vikki Carr, Pete Fountain, Elaine Stritch, Lorna Luft, Elaine Paige, Jason Alexander, Martin Short, Georgia Brown and many others.

Larry has orchestrated and arranged for four Academy Awards shows including parts of the (Marc Shaiman-arranged) Billy Crystal medleys.

Larry regularly conducts for BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night.  Larry orchestrates the Olivier Awards for the Society of London Theatre. Larry conducted the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House in 2015 and 2016.

Laura Dickinson
Soloist

Multi-Grammy® & Emmy® winner Laura Dickinson is perhaps best known for her extensive work on Phineas and Ferb, in addition to being a sought after music producer, contractor, arranger, and voice actor with clients including Cartoon Network, HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Studios, Riot Games, Dreamworks Animation, Michael Bublé, Dolly Parton, and Disney Television Animation.

Laura has worked full time in the entertainment industry for the last two decades; her first recording session was at age seven. She often notes that SAG-AFTRA vocalists and AFM instrumentalists are frequently forgotten about in post-production without screen credit, and that 90% of people in the industry do not know what a music contractor – a vocal contractor or instrumental contractor – actually is. Music contractors have similar relationships to stunt coordinators, in that SAG-AFTRA singers and AFM players generally do not have agents and mainly book through contractors who serve extensively as music casting directors.

Laura split her time before the pandemic between New York and her native Los Angeles, now working from her home studio in Rowland Heights, California down the street from the infamous Twin Pines Mall. She serves on numerous SAG-AFTRA committees and on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC).

As of October 2021, Laura is working as lead composer on an upcoming animated television series and independent short film, in addition to multiple projects in development as a writer.

Matthew Johnson
Soloist 

The multi-talented Matthew Johnson is an actor, singer, dancer, and musician who has performed with the likes of Pharrell, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Childish Gambino, and Stevie Wonder. His musical theater roots were cultivated at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and through his mentor, Debbie Allen, who helped mold him into the triple threat performer he is today. Matthew has done vocal arrangements for the Grammy Awards as well as performed at the Emmys and the Billboard Awards.  He honed his skills as a vocal chameleon on some of the world’s most watched television shows such as American IdolThe Voice, X Factor and Late Night with James Corden.  He’s shared the stage and studio with some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Kelly Clarkson, Sam Smith, Demi Lavato, and Jennifer Hudson. On the big screen, Matthew stars as Mack in Warner Brother’s Christmas on the Square starring Dolly Parton and Christine Baranski which received an Emmy nomination this year.

Valarie PettifordValarie Pettiford
Soloist 

Valarie Pettiford is an award-winning actor, dancer and singer. She earned a Tony nomination for Fosse. She will soon be seen in the Bad Wolf production A Discovery of Witches for the UK’s Skyone, Sundance Now and Shudder. She plays Emily Mather, a series regular in the television adaptation of the New York Times’ best-selling All Souls Trilogy of novels. She recently wrapped 2 films Miracle of Music and If Not When.

Valarie’s television highlights include the series regular role of Ronda Sales on Season 4 of Being Mary Jane, four seasons and 3 NAACP Image Awards’ nominations for the series regular role of Big Dee Dee on the hit television comedy Half and Half. She has appeared in recurring roles as Simone Porter on Valor, Charlene Cooper on The Blacklist, and Beverly on Born Again Virgin. She has guest starred on top-rated series such as Blackish, Bones, House of Payne, True Blood, Treme, and Criminal Minds.

On film, her roles include Chippy Duncan in The Family Business, based on the critically acclaimed book by Carl Weber, and Judge Alice Miller in the forthcoming Senior Moment, starring Christopher Lloyd, William Shatner, and Jean Smart. She played the pivotal role of Aunt Geneva in Jumping the Broom, and has appeared in movies such as Stomp the Yard, Why Did I Get Married 2, Glitter, and The Wiz among others.

In addition to her Tony nomination, Valarie was also nominated for the Outer Critics, Drama League, and Mora Dora awards for Fosse. She appeared in the first national tour of Fosse’s Dancin’ and his last original musical, Big Deal, on which she was part of a skeleton crew, acting as audition instructor and Dance Captain, as well as a featured performer. She received glowing reviews as Judith Jamison’s understudy in the original cast of Sophisticated Ladies on which she was also the swing Dance Captain. She was nominated for an Ovation award for her portrayal Julie in the touring company of Showboat.

Valarie also holds the honor of being the first American actor to portray Velma Kelly in the West End revival of Chicago, starring alongside the legendary Chita Rivera. When Ms. Rivera was inducted into The Kennedy Center Honors, she requested Valarie reprise the role of Velma for her performance.

Valarie portrayed the role of Anita in the 30th Anniversary tour of West Side Story. She won an NAACP Best Actress award for the role of Queenie in the Los Angeles premiere of Michael John La Chuisa’s The Wild Party.  She also received the Bistro Award for Cabaret Debut at the Metropolitan Room. She has performed sold out concerts of her one-woman show across the United States. She has released two albums, Hear My Voice and Velvet Sky; both available on CD Baby.

Valarie is extremely proud and deeply honored to be hired by the Verdon/Fosse Legacy to reconstruct Bob Fosse’s brilliant choreography, and teach it to a new generation of dancers in exclusive master classes.

The Donald Brinegar Singers & JPL Chorus 

Donald Brinegar is a conductor, tenor soloist, voice instructor, educator and master class clinician. Professor Emeritus of Music at Pasadena City College, Brinegar directed the Choral Studies program at PCC for  36 years. Brinegar also conducts the Donald Brinegar Singers, a community choral ensemble in Pasadena, California, Director of Choruses for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, . During the summers he co-directs the Cal State Los Angeles masters program in choral conducting. He has an extensive background as a performer both as a soloist and a conductor having performed throughout the United States,Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada. Brinegar has performed as a featured soloist with Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Roger Wagner,Gerard Swartz, Murray Sidlin, Howard Swan, Charles Hirt, Rod Eichenberger, William Hall, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Feinstein, and with numerous music festivals, orchestras and opera associations. He has collaborated artistically with Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, John Delancie, and the Chieftains. His choirs have given five performances for the American Choral Directors Association Conferences, California Music Educators (MENC), Choral Conductors Guild, and have performed in Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Music Center, and the Hollywood Bowl.

The Donald Brinegar Singers, choral ensemble, was founded in the Fall of 1997 as an ensemble of former students and colleagues of Professor Brinegar. Their first concert was given in November of 1997. Their second performance was the premiere of Lauridsen’s organ edition of Lux Aeterna, accompanied by organist James Buonemani. The ensemble presented music of the holiday season and was then invited to perform at The ACDA Western Division Convention in Los Angeles, 2000. Shortly following the convention appearance, the Singers recorded Ubi caritas et amor and Madrigali Six FireSongs: for Lauridsen’s compact disc, Northwest Journey. The Singers performed the Chansons des Roses with Lauridsen accompanying at the San Antonio, Texas, ACDA National Conference. The Singers followed with two more performances of Lauridsen’s music in Las Vegas, 2004 ACDA Western Division Conference, and the premiere of Nocturnes (The Brock Memorial Convention Commission) 2005, Los Angeles ACDA National Convention.

The Singers are the resident chorus for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, having sung for David Lockington, Grant Cooper, Marvin Hamlisch, Larry Blank, and Michael Feinstein. In 2015, the ensemble performed the orchestrated version of Lauridsen’s Mid- Winter Songs along with the Nocturnes (Lauridsen accompanying) with the symphony. The ensemble has also performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Los Angeles Arboretum, and for Brinegar’s publisher, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Santa Barbara. The Singers have given premiere performances of the music of Bruce Babcock, David Childs, Emma Lou Diemer, Morten Lauridsen, Z. Randall Stroope, and Eric Whitacre, among many others. The Singers recorded the background score for the film, The Bridge to Terrabithia, music by Aaron Zigman. They are the featured ensemble in an Irish Folk Song Collection, Letters from Ireland by Mark Brymer.

Pasadena is a city rich with the arts and sciences, which gives way for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Chorus to blend perfectly. Formed early in 2012 in a partnership between the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the JPL Chorus is comprised of JPL employees who rehearse weekly under the direction of (Donald Brinegar), the Pasadena Symphony’s Director of Choruses. The JPL Chorus is comprised of 53 employees who rehearse each Wednesday evening. Their concert program includes a mixture of classical repertoire to popular, with composers ranging from Benjamin Britten and John Lennon/Paul McCartney.

The singers come from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. “The idea is to celebrate JPL with our group’s enthusiasm about music and singing. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think what Don brings to this particularly is a great sense of joy in the experience,” stated Stephen Kulczycki, Deputy Director of Communication and Education at JPL (and a member of the bass section.)

Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Entertainment

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is an iconic Los Angeles institution that has served millions of children and families since 1963. Their mission as a nonprofit organization is to educate, celebrate, and inspire imagination through puppetry and the allied arts. With over 3,000 handcrafted puppets and a new home in an old vaudeville theatre in Highland Park, they are actively expanding programs to reach families, adults, and their community at large. Their presentation for Pasadena Symphony and POPS will highlight classic performances from their historic repertoire, including a singing cat, elegant opera singer, and a traditional hat dance! Come enjoy a musical variety spectacular, Bob Baker style!

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. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, leads the POPS as Principal Pops Conductor, succeeding Marvin Hamlisch.

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 seven performing ensembles, with over 400 gifted 4th-12th grade students from all over Southern California. The PYSO Symphony has performed at venues across the globe as well as on the television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.