WESTERLY — Grammy winning saxophonist Paul Winter will join musicians from the Chorus of Westerly Saturday at the 39th annual Summer Pops performance in downtown Westerly’s Wilcox Park, when the harmonies of community and music come together to officially welcome summer in Westerly, said chorus executive director Ryan Saunders.
This year’s performance, conducted by Andrew Howell, will mark the final concert of the Chorus of Westerly’s 60th concert season and a part of the Town of Westerly’s 350th anniversary, will feature the 180-voice chorus of Westerly, the Pops Festival Orchestra, the Artillery Company of Newport, and a fireworks finale by Grucci, Saunders said. The American Band, a 60-piece ensemble led by conductor Brian Cardany, will be featured as Pops special guests of on both the main program, which begins at 8 p.m., and as lead act on the Pops pre-show at 6:15 p.m. which will also include performances by Pianist Michael Chicoria and The Westerly Morris Men.
Winter's appearance is being presented in conjunction with the Westerly Bricks and Murals Harmony Trail project. The seven-time Grammy winner will perform music with the orchestra and chorus, as well as pair with Harmony Trail instrument creator Richard Cooke for a new work featuring the chorus, orchestra, and some of the outdoor instruments being installed locally as part of the Harmony Trail. (See related story below.)
The Summer Pops program will include music from "The Music Man" Henry Mancini’s "Moon River, a portion of the final movement of Beethoven’s "Ninth Symphony," a Mack Wilberg arrangement of "Homeward Bound," and patriotic favorites including "America the Beautiful," and Sousa’s "Liberty Bell March."
Summer Pops 2019 will also feature a new work celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Chorus of Westerly, the 350th anniversary of Westerly, and the 40th anniversary of The American Band’s “reformation”, by New York composer and Westerly native John Tafone. Tafone has written a work "that will
feature a fanfare sounding from all corners of the park," Saunders said.
The concert will close with its traditional ending, Tchaikovsky’s famous "1812 Overture," complete with chorus, orchestra, cannons of the Newport Artillery, the bells of Christ Church, and fireworks.
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro