Inspiration can come in many forms.
For Kenosha Pops Concert Band directors Craig Gall and Garrett Kornman, the inspiration for this week’s concert theme came from Sonny and Cher.
“Garrett and I saw the ‘Sounds of Sonny and Cher’ arrangement by Bill Holcombe in the Pops Band’s library of music for many years, and we really wanted to get that piece into a concert,” Gall says. “We built this brand-new theme of ‘Dynamic Duos’ around this piece.”
The Sonny and Cher piece is a medley with three songs made famous by the duo — “Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves,” “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done” and “Living in a House Divided.”
Besides Sonny and Cher, the program features “an incredibly diverse collection of music,” Gall says.
Of course, no concert with a duos theme would be complete without something from Richard Rodgers and his two writing partners — lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein.
From Rodgers and Hart is “Manhattan,” one of the pair’s early hit songs. Together, they wrote 28 stage musicals and more than 500 songs, from 1919 until Hart’s death in 1943. “Manhattan” comes from their first successful Broadway musical, “The Garrick Gaieties” in 1925, which led to a series of successful musicals and films. Rodgers and Hart quickly became among the most popular songwriters in America, and from 1925 to 1931 had 15 scores featured on Broadway.
Representing Rodgers and Hammerstein — who together created a string of popular Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 1950s — is the music from the 1957 TV production, “Cinderella.”
“Cinderella” is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written originally for television and contains what Gall calls “one of Richard Rodgers’ great waltzes.” It was broadcast live on CBS on March 31, 1957, as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, who played the title role. The broadcast was seen by more than 100 million people. It was remade for television twice, in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren, and in 1997 starring Brandy, in the title role.
Other Broadway duos represented at the concert are:
– “My Fair Lady” by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, arranged for band by Robert Russell Bennett.
– “Bricusse and Newley on Broadway,” a medley of tunes from the early 1960s musicals “The Roar of the Greasepaint – the Smell of the Crowd” and “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.
– “Gilbert & Sullivan: Symphonic Suite,” with tunes from the operettas “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Mikado” and “The Pirates of Penzance” by William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
– “Embraceable You,” by brothers George and Ira Gershwin. Master of ceremonies Greg Berg will sing this piece, arranged by Warren Barker.
– “A Wright and Forrest Collection,” a medley of songs from Robert Craig Wright and George Forrest’s 1954 musical comedy “Kismet,” including “Stranger in Paradise.”
Another songwriting team — Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller — isn’t well known by most people, Kornman said, “but while you may not know their names, you know their work.” This medley includes the hit songs “Love Potion No.9,” “Kansas City,” “Stand by Me,” “Yakety Yak” and “Hound Dog.”
The team of John Lennon and Paul McCarney is well known by everyone, as are the songs in the medley “Lennon/McCartney Portrait,” also arranged by Holcombe. Tunes include “A Hard Day’s Night,” “And I Love Her,” “Day Tripper” and “Hey Jude,” most recently heard during the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Composer James Van Heusen is represented in two pieces — “Come Fly with Me,” written by Van Heusen, with words by Sammy Cahn, and “But Beautiful,” with words by Johnny Burke.
Burke and Van Heusen wrote the music for the “Road” movies, starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Gall said, adding, “this piece is a ‘Dynamic Duo’ for the songwriters and for the performers, Hope and Crosby. It’s also a gorgeous, lush arrangement of ‘But Beautiful’ by Sammy Nestico.”
Another duo on Wednesday night’s program is the Captain and Tennille, who had a hit with the song “Love will Keep us Together,” written by Neil Sedaka and HowardGreenfield.
Finally, the program also features “The Gillette Look Sharp March” by Mahlon Merrick because, as Gall says, “two blades shave better than one — so it fits our theme!”
The program, Gall added, “will be a very entertaining concert. It has everything from Broadway to Sonny and Cher to four Beatles favorites — what more can you say?”
If you go
What: The Kenosha Pops Concert Band’s “Dynamic Duos” concert
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 1, 2012)
Where: The band shell in Pennoyer Park, at 35th Street and Seventh Avenue on Kenosha’s lakefront
Next concert: “Pops Encore: Favorites from this Season,” Aug. 8, 2012
Also: During the performances, the Pops Band operates a concession stand, offering popcorn, candy, soda and water. Also, parking is allowed on both sides of Seventh Avenue durings Pops concerts.