The Boston Pops, accompanied by the Grammy award-winning New York Voices, presented an eclectic musical selection for Colonials Weekend Saturday night-including a sing-a-long and a rousing rendition of the GW Fight Song.
The Pops began with a string of patriotic numbers such as “The Star Spangled Banner.” This portion of the concert was highlighted by a dramatic reading of “The Gettysburg Address” by President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, set to the score of the movie “Gettysburg.” These songs brought, conductor Keith Lockhart said, “America’s orchestra to America’s capital.”
Next, the NYV, a quartet formed in the 1980s, took to the stage. They crooned to the Pops’ version of Gershwin’s “Baby Be Good,” and other jazz-rooted tunes.
Lockhart then encouraged parents to embarrass their students by singing along to his “Baby Boomer Bash,” which included “The Theme from Rocky,” “MacArthur Park” and a medley of 60s television theme songs. Not all were embarrassed, though. Junior Morgan Corr, who claimed to be a “baby boomer at heart,” said he enjoyed the song selection and the overall concert.
After another jazzy set by NYV, Lockhart catered again to the parents with a “Baby Boomer Sing-A-Long,” featuring hits including “Puff the Magic Dragon” and the “YMCA”; the legendary disco song had the crowd all but dancing in the aisles.
As a fitting conclusion to any Smith Center show, the GW Cheerleaders burst onto the floor, and the orchestra donned foam GW hats as they played the GW Fight Song. The Pops, to put a spin on their traditional closing march, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” welcomed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer to the stage as a guest conductor.
Students not of the baby boomer era may be more interested in another of Lockhart’s recent endeavors: A collaboration between the Pops and the band Guster. The pair recently played two concerts to a younger audience that Lockhart called “off center” for the Pops.
Lockhart shows preferences for genres such as blues and jazz, along with some other favorites: Dave Matthews Band, Led Zeppelin and Ben Folds, another musician he hopes will collaborate with the orchestra in the future. Lockhart believes these collaborations expose college students to more classical music.
He describes classical music as an acquired taste. Acquiring this taste, Lockhart said in an interview, is like the transition from “drinking really bad drinks at frat parties to having a really nice wine collection.”
This article appeared in the October 24, 2005 issue of the Hatchet.