From the Latin beat of Jos & eacute; Feliciano to the musical world of Broadway's crown prince Richard Rodgers, to the stylistic jazz piano of Joe Augustine and guitar of Phil Keaggy, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra 2002-03 Pops Series presents a spectrum of musical colors.
Many industry professionals as well as prestigious musicians and artists around the world consider Feliciano to be the first Latin artist to cross over into the English music market, opening the door to the current Latino craze. The six-time Grammy Award winner opens the John W. and Dorothy B. Pops Series Nov. 2.
Guitar Player Magazine has awarded Feliciano Best Pop Guitarist for five years running and has placed him in their "Gallery of the Greats." He has been voted Best Jazz and Best Rock Guitarist in the Playboy Magazine reader's poll numerous times. Feliciano is the only performer who has won pop music awards in two language categories. He has been awarded over 45 Gold and Platinum records, won 16 Grammy nominations -- most recently for Senor Bolero -- and received Billboard Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Born blind in Lares, Puerto Rico, in 1945, Feliciano has performed for heads of state and with top entertainers throughout the world including many symphony orchestras. When he performs with the YSO and conductor Isaiah Jackson, you'll hear such Feliciano standards as "California Dreamin'," "Light My Fire," "The Eyes of Love" and "Malaguena." "An Evening with Jos & eacute; Feliciano" is underwritten in part by Anthony, Mary, Natalie and Dana Lariccia.
On Dec. 7, the Joe Augustine Trio joins the orchestra and will put a unique spin on many of your cherished holiday melodies plus a few original Augustine tunes. Selections specifically arranged for Augustine and the YSO include "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland" and "Sleigh Ride," among others. Augustine's own compositions "On This Special Day" and "No More Tears for Christmas" will be performed.
Augustine is on a life-long journey to nurture his own unique signature. Augustine is a master at creating meticulous, distinctive arrangements incorporating sophisticated harmonies and intricate rhythms into the literature so that his listeners hear the music in exciting new ways. An Augustine arrangement always acknowledges that the spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves.
The consummate musician, Augustine is at home performing with symphony orchestras, in jazz clubs with his trio and as a solo pianist, in the studio as a recording artist and in the classroom as lecturer on "The Business of Music."
No single composer in the history of the American musical theatre has written as many hits as Rodgers. On the occasion of Rodgers' centennial year, the YSO under the direction of Isaiah Jackson will present a bevy of Rodgers' melodies -- melodies which he encoded into his music in such a way that they will always be decodable by the human heart. To name a few: "With a Song in My Heart," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "My Funny Valentine" and "Some Enchanted Evening."
On hand to bring the melodies to life Feb. 8, 2003, are three stars of today's Broadway: Kim Crosby, Craig Schulman and Richard White. Crosby has appeared on Broadway as Cinderella in Sondheim's "Into the Woods," as Sarah Brown in the enormously successful revival of "Guys and Dolls" and earlier in "Jerry's Girls."
Tenor Craig Schulman is the only performer in the world to have performed three of the most extraordinary musical theatre characters ever written. He has appeared in the title roles of "Jekyll & amp; Hyde," "The Phantom of the Opera," and in nearly 2,000 performances as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables."
The third member of the Broadway trio is baritone Richard White. White can be heard as the voice of the villain Gaston in the critically acclaimed Disney feature "Beauty and the Beast." Musical theatre audiences have heard him in "The Most Happy Fella," "The King and I," "Kiss Me, Kate," "Carousel" and "The Pirates of Penzance." "It's a Grand Night for Singing," the Orchestra's Symphonic Valentine program, is underwritten in part by Hynes Industries, Inc.
It has been noted that guitarist Jimi Hendrix was once asked what it was like to be the best rock guitarist in the world. His response: "I don't know. Go ask Phil Keaggy." Keaggy concludes the Pops Series concerts April 12, 2003.
Like an aural Michelangelo, Keaggy chisels away at the wall of sound until nothing remains but the song. Six-time Dove Award recipient for best instrumental album of the year, Keaggy is most closely identified with contemporary Christian music. April 12 audiences will discover that the scope of his art is much broader.
Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from those who aspire to play guitar and professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style, to those who find solace in his beautifully penned lyrics and memorable melodies and those reminiscing of his days as lead guitarist with Youngstown-based Glass Harp. Whatever your connection to Keaggy, this is a must-see event sponsored in part by GM Lordstown Assembly and GM Lordstown Metal Center.
Tickets for the four concert Pops Series performed at the Edward W. Powers Auditorium are available now by calling the Symphony box office at (330) 744-0264.
XPatricia C. Syak is executive director of the Youngstown Symphony Society.