HSO returns with pops tribute to Louis Armstrong

For the first time in two years, people have an opportunity to enjoy a live performance of the Holland Symphony Orchestra. 

After a year's absence due to the pandemic, Holland Symphony Orchestra's Pops at the Pier is returning and offering another way to savor the summer.

The open venue and lakeside setting will be the backdrop to “Pops at the Pier with Byron Stripling: Tribute to Louis Armstrong” to the Eldean Shipyard boat shed, 2223 South Shore Drive, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 29.
Byron Stripling
Stripling’s tribute to Louis Armstrong has been called “electrifying and heartfelt” and one of “America’s most popular orchestral pops programs.” 

“It’s an unusual place to have a concert,” HSO President/CEO Kay Walvoord says, but adds: “The combination of the lighter music and the outdoors and summer — especially this year following COVID — people are so excited about having a concert.”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available from the symphony online or by phone 616-796-6780 prior to the concert as well as at the door. For details, visit hollandsymphony.org. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own chairs, but a limited number will also be available at the shed.

Stripling serves as artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. He was educated at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he periodically returns as a special guest lecturer.

Recently named principal pops conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, his baton has led orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. He has been a featured soloist in several orchestras and on the PBS television special, "Evening at Pops." He performs at festivals around the world.

“With his engaging rapport, jazzy vocals and virtuosic trumpet sounds, Byron dazzles audiences wherever he goes,” an HSO statement says. “With his signature version of ‘When the Saints Go Marchin’ In’ to close the show, Byron celebrates the spirit of New Orleans.”

The concert is sponsored by Metropolitan Health/University of Michigan Health with in-kind support from Eldean Shipyard, Waterfront Film Festival, and Anchorage Marina Yacht Club. 

People don’t want to be stuck inside during the summer, Wolvoort says.

“It attracts a whole new audience of people who don’t usually come to the Jack Miller auditorium (where the orchestra usually performs),” she says.

Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra will kick off the evening with some pre-concert music at 6 p.m. with music director Jordan VanHemert.

It will be VanHemert’s final concert with the jazz orchestra he founded two years ago as he leaves West Michigan to become director of jazz studies at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia.
Jordan VanHemert performs.
“To me it’s about really making connections. To me that is the thing I’ve loved the most (about the jazz orchestra),” Van Hemert says. “Music is about connections you make with people. It’s about relationships.”

But, as he is quick to point out, the new season of the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra will begin in the fall. For details, as they become available, visit HollandCJO.org or facebook.com/OfficialHCJO.

Food trucks from Pigs on the Fly and Orlandos will be at the concert with summer food selections available for sale. Beer, wine, and water will also be available for purchase starting at 5:30 p.m. 

The Holland Symphony Orchestra will take the stage at Eldean’s boat shed at 7 p.m. under the baton of Music Director Johannes Müller Stosch. 

“The Eldeans are really good to us,” Walvoord says.

The space usually stores vessels that compete in the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac and most years the majestic vessels festoon the expansive space.

The next concert by the Holland Symphony Orchestra will be its free presentation of Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 in Kollen Park, 240 Kollen Park Drive.

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.

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