New Philharmonic to play varied program at outdoor venue

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By Annie Alleman, Chicago Tribune / Naperville Sun

The New Philharmonic presents an evening of well-known pop songs set against nature.

The orchestra performs a 7 p.m. Friday concert at the McAninch Center for the Arts at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. It’s part of the Mac’s free outdoor summer Lakeside Pavilion series. People are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Food, beer and wine are available for purchase.

For this performance, conductor Kirk Muspratt has shaped a show with a fun evening in mind.

“I have to concern myself with — it’s an outdoor concert and (people) are coming out to enjoy themselves, and what kind of music do they want to hear so we can guarantee they will absolutely come to the concert again next year?” he said. “We’ll start with some light classical music. Indiana has its 200th birthday next year, and it’s right next door. So I’m going to do a piece by Cole Porter and a piece by Hoagie Carmichael, because they’re both Indiana composers. Then I’m going to do some film music — the theme from ‘The Godfather’ and some ‘Indiana Jones’ by John Williams. So it’s light classical music, it’s some show tunes-type music and some film music.”

People have been requesting the theme from “The Godfather” for a long time, he said. Speaking of fan favorites, the NP will also perform “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

“It’s just a fun thing to do to get everybody riled up,” he said.

In the second half of the program, he will talk about Abraham Lincoln, because Illinois is having its 200th birthday in 2018.

“He’s obviously very important in Illinois history, and this music from ‘Lincoln’ just became available. Williams did the music to ‘Lincoln,’ the movie,” he said. “Also, the music from ‘Gettysburg’ just became available recently. So two beautiful pieces that are a little more serious. After that I’m going to go back to Broadway and do some Andrew Lloyd Webber, because people ask me for that all the time. It’s a different genre of music that I want the orchestra playing. And then I’m doing one Michael Jackson song, ‘Gone Too Soon.’ We’ve never done any Michael Jackson over there.”

Finally, the NP will do “Into Darkness” from “Star Trek” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from “Evita.”

“A piece like ‘Georgia on My Mind’ is one of the most famous and loved pieces, and it doesn’t matter who sings it — Willie Nelson or Crystal Gayle,” he said. “We got an arrangement of it from Atlanta Symphony for solo trumpet and orchestra. I had to look hard for one I really like.”

Muspratt is excited for the show and can’t pick just one selection that he’s most jazzed to play.

“I’m actually looking forward to ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ because I think it’s a cool piece, and I’m looking forward to the music from ‘Lincoln,'” he said. “It’s beautiful and touching and thought-provoking. But I love ‘Georgia on My Mind’ because it’s gorgeous and sweet and perfect for summer.

“I hope people will come. It’s really a fun concert. People tell me all the time, ‘I had no idea this full orchestra was at the Mac.’ Or, ‘I had no idea you guys are so much fun.’ Or, ‘I had no idea you played this kind of music.'”

Annie Alleman is a freelance writer.


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