Celebrating its 80th birthday in 2014, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra has entertained generations of audiences with seasons that thrive on contrast. Each year includes six classical concerts and five Pops! musical dinner picnic events in the newly-renovated Long Beach Arena. The Symphony also serves the community with free music education that has reached over 24,000 youth at schools, libraries, hospitals, and community centers. In addition, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra was the first major regional orchestra to appoint a woman as its Music Director, in 1989, and further gained international stature with its most recent Maestro who brought original compositions, world premieres, and celebrated international soloists to the Symphony?s repertoire.
For an organization going on 100 years old, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is distinctly unstodgy. The orchestra performs concerts that tunefully blend classical works with new pieces, and continually seeks new ways to engage audiences. Many evenings, for instance, are preceded by an Upbeat Live talk, covering the program's historical and cultural context and opening the floor for Q&As with guest artists. A thriving youth orchestra program, YOLA, shares the joys of classical music with a fresher-faced generation. And the Green Umbrella program invites guests to hear world-premiere compositions. That novel approach to listener engagement seems to have caught on?every year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic shares music with more than two million ears, or three million if you count that secret ear everyone has but no one talks about.
The Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express smuggles arena legends Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent into the great outdoors of the Greek Theatre with an inestimable cargo of sing-along classics. Styx has sparked the third rail since 1972 with prog-rock sensationalism, bolstering lighter-fluid epics such as "Come Sail Away" and "Babe" with complex riffs from crystalline synthesizers intertwined with power-chord crescendos and noodling from guitar giant Tommy Shaw. With founding frontman and falsetto specialist Kevin Cronin at the helm, fellow Prairie State juggernaut REO Speedwagon fills the stage with passionate chartbusters that made waterbed salesmen rich, from romantic ballads such as “Keep On Loving You" to the spurned-lover kiss-off "Take It on the Run." Kicking off the show, "Motor City Madman" and expert game hunter Ted Nugent revs his buzzsaw guitar through classics such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold," all while protecting the audience from wild boars.
On June 5, the 100-member Jr. Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 74 years of giving young musicians up to age 25 the chance to be heard with an evening of classical standards, show tunes, and favorite theme songs. Bring a favorite baton from home and conduct along with orchestral leader Gary S. Greene as he leads the 1812 Overture, Scheherazade, and a dancing group of instrument-less broomsticks. Radio personality Wink Martindale masters the ceremonies and a number of stage sages headline, including Carol Channing singing "Hello, Dolly!" and Charles Fox conducting his ditties from Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Love Boat. Join in the toe-tapping tintinnabulation in support of this musical institution; see the online seating chart for a glimpse of seating areas available with this Groupon.
Constructed in 1934 in the Spanish-mission style, the San Jose Civic has played host to a star-studded lineup of performers—including The Who, who kicked off its first U.S. tour on the Civic's venerable stage. The building's elegant, dual-level exterior and softy lit tower recall bygone days of conquistadors, and the remodeled auditorium's armrests and cup holders keep chalices of gold comfortably upright.