This Summer's Pops Concert features two major works: excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, and two of George Gershwin’s Piano Preludes, arranged for orchestra. Other works include Paul Desmond’s Take 5, Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess, and Harold Arlen’s Over The Rainbow, from the Wizard of Oz. As is customary with the concerts, members of the orchestra will be performing solo or chamber works on the program, as well.
The Penobscot Bay Orchestra was formed in 2022 by local musicians wanting a musical community that merges the arts and social issues. Concert proceeds, donations collected at the door in lieu of admission, will be given to Healthy Lincoln County, which works to improve the health and well-being of Lincoln County’s residents.
The orchestra has grown since its start in 2021, with players coming from all over the Penobscot Bay region.
“A community orchestra of this size and type is unique in the mid-coast,” said Deirdre McClure, the orchestra’s conductor, in a news release. “And we are grateful to the John Street Church and its community, who have welcomed us in their beautiful home.”
She added: “Summer is a good time to enjoy the less serious side of the classical music repertoire. These pieces offer a real challenge to the orchestra, and we’ve been having a lot of fun preparing these lighter and very enjoyable works. However, the music is not easy. Rhythmically, it is very challenging, and it’s a great opportunity for the orchestra to change gears and learn how to play in a completely different medium.”
McClure brings a musical spirit and enthusiasm to her conducting, with an ear to phrasing, rhythm, intonation, and shared interpretation. A seasoned professional, for 15 years she was Music Director of the Oakland Opera Theater, leading productions of contemporary operas by Glass, Stravinsky, Britten, Weill, Anthony Davis, and many others. Now a resident of Portland, McClure is on the faculty of the University of New England, and conducts the Sea Change Chorale in Portland.
Prior to 2021, McClure was a member of the Faculty of Bay Chamber Concerts, coaching chamber music and conducting their chamber orchestra.