Artscapes: Pacific Symphony Returns to Newport Beach July 16

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Classical music goes casual this weekend when Pacific Symphony brings its family-friendly Symphony in the Cities program to Newport Beach on Sunday, July 16 at the Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive.

The evening will begin with the Symphony’s “Musical Playground” starting at 5:30 p.m., which features many interactive and hands-on activities for children, including instrument making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo, and an opportunity to meet the musicians.

Kids will have the chance to learn how to conduct an orchestra with Maestro Carl St.Clair, and later help lead the orchestra in Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” during the concert.

Classical guitar group “Triada” will provide pre-concert entertainment.

The concert, featuring Pacific Symphony, led by Maestro Carl St.Clair, will begin at 7 p.m. The program will include patriotic favorites, hit Broadway musical numbers, classical music selections and a few tunes from popular movies such as “Superman March” and “E.T the Extra Terrestrial: Flying Theme.” 

Award-winning young virtuoso violinists Danielle and Sarah Liu will be featured artists in the program. Dancers from YAYA Dance Academy and singers from the Southern California Children’s Chorus will accompany the performance.

“Can there be a more enjoyable time than summer in Orange County?” says Maestro St.Clair. “Add a little symphonic music and you have perfection! One of my greatest passions is sharing my love of music with others, so every summer I am excited to bring Pacific Symphony out into the community, where we can touch the hearts of more people than ever.”

The concert’s upbeat program opens with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by Bernstein’s vivacious Overture to “Candide” and heart-pumping “Mambo” from “West Side Story.” Then, dancers from the Yaya Dance Academy (choreographed by award-winning Yaya Zhang) light up the stage for Mascagni’s rich and colorful Intermezzo from “Cavalleria rusticana.”

 Johannes Brahms’ enticing gypsy music from “Hungarian Dance No. 5” provides a compelling interlude before two of Johann Strauss Jr.’s most timeless and famous pieces are heard: “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” and “Thunder and Lightning Polka.”

Guest violinists, the talented young Liu sisters, Sarah (13) and Danielle (17), perform the “Vivace” movement from Bach’s Concerto in D Minor. The sisters’ performances are followed by two highly recognizable and thrilling works by the incomparable film-score maestro, John Williams. After a salute to the United States Armed Forces, the Symphony ends with three patriotic gems: “America the Beautiful,” featuring the Southern California Children’s Chorus,” Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever!”

Admission to the concert is free and free parking is available in the Civic Center parking structure.  Concert goers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or purchase food and refreshments from food trucks that will be on site.  Attendees should also bring low-slung beach chairs and blankets for the outdoor event. No alcohol or tail-gaiting is allowed.

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 Upcoming concerts at the Newport Beach Civic Center this summer: 

 The Tijuana Dogs / Sunday, August 6, 6-7:30 p.m., Civic Center Green: Tijuana Dogs is a popular Southern California band, who play an eclectic mix of rock, R& B, jazz, country, and pop.

 Night Shift (Citrus College pop ensemble) / Sunday, September 3, 6-7:30 p.m., Civic Center Green: This dynamic pop rock ensemble performs the best music of classic rockers, R & B and contemporary artists. Night Shift’s high-energy concert includes hits such as: Let’s Groove, Midnight Hour, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Superstition and September.

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