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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 14, 2002

Orchestra's pops series to mix blues, jazz and Hawaiian

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

What started out as a lark has become a Honolulu Symphony Orchestra tradition — pops is tops with the orchestra and fans.

Seven-concert series

• What: Honolulu Symphony's Hawaiian Airlines Pops Series

• When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays beginning Sept. 27

• Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall

• Info: 792-2000

Season subscriptions are $119 to $364; renewals for current subscribers are due by April 30. Individual tickets will be available later.

So the orchestra is continuing the series — its fifth — with seven top-tier acts, performing under the baton of pops conductor Matt Catingub, starting Sept. 27 at Blaisdell Concert Hall.

The Hawaiian Airlines Pops Series slate taps jazz, blues and Hawaiiana, with appearances by singer Lou Rawls, pianist-singer Michael Feinstein, singer-composer-guitarist Keola Beamer, vocal trio Na Leo Pilimehana, singer Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, guitarist Barry Flanagan, pop singer Michael McDonald, and jazz stylists Dave Koz and Daniel Ho.

To enable pre-concert dining options, the concerts will begin a half-hour later at 8 p.m. Those arriving early will also be able to hear pre-curtain lobby music by local music students.

"I had no idea this new music phenomenon would take off so quickly," said Catingub of the wide and growing appeal of the pops series.

"We've been able to create an orchestral backdrop for chart-topping musicians, many of whom are performing with a symphony for the very first time. And each concert is truly an exciting and entertaining experience — it's more of a show, actually, than just a concert."

The details:

• Sept. 27-28 — Lou Rawls. A Grammy winner best known for his "You'll Never Find (Another Love of Mine)" hit, Rawls' career spans about 40 years.

• Oct. 18-19 — Pianist-vocalist Michael Feinstein. Often called "America's Ambassador of Song," Feinstein has emerged as the unparalleled interpreter of music by the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren.

• Nov. 15-16 — Keola Beamer. Respected for both his slack key artistry and his composing skills, is a champion of traditional and Island music but also an inventive creator of contemporary Hawaiiana; his guitar chord progressions have made him a pioneer and scholar in the genre. Beamer also is composer of his signature "Honolulu City Lights" tune.

• Dec. 13-14 — Na Leo Pilimehana. Angela Morales, Lehua Kalama, Nalani Choy are revered for their sweet vocal harmonies, showcased with the orchestra in pop and Hawaiian shows as well as a Christmas concert. The program also will feature the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and Ka Pa Hula O Kauanoe O Wa'ahila.

• Jan. 17-28 — Dave Koz and Daniel Ho. Koz's smooth jazz has an eloquence of its own; Ho is a Hawai'i-reared award-winning musician-composer.

• April 11-12 — Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and Barry Flanagan. Singer Gilliom has partnered with guitarist Flanagan for several months, yielding a show that combines traditional Hawaiian with contemporary spin-offs. She has brought new awareness to ha'i, a particular vocal style being discovered by the younger generation; Flanagan is regarded as one of Hawai'i's best guitarists and an accomplished composer.

• May 30-31 — Michael McDonald. This Doobie Brother returns to the pop spotlight with his hits intact, including "What a Fool Believes," "Takin' It to the Streets" and "I Keep Forgettin'."