Ask Charlotte Symphony CEO Mary Deissler why she moved the opening Summer Pops concert indoors, and she laughs: Stormy weather has already broken up your cell-phone conversation.
“The answer is all around us,” she says. “You just can’t count on five days of really good weather in Charlotte in June and early July.” That’s the reason – well, one of them – the CSO will kick off the 2018 Summer Pops June 13 with a concert by the orchestra and The Kruger Brothers in Knight Theater.
The series comes back uptown June 22 for a screening of “Back to the Future,” with the CSO playing Alan Silvestri’s score live at Belk Theater. Resident conductor Christopher James Lees will handle both gigs. (Read more about him here.) The orchestra will hold three more concerts at its traditional summer venue, Symphony Park, culminating in a July 1 finale with fireworks.
“This is the first time, at least in the modern era, we have opened Summer Pops with an indoor concert,” says Deissler. “As we look to broadening the programming, we’re trying to figure out what a larger audience for the summer might be.
“The Kruger Brothers are an experiment: They expand on our year-long residency with Mark O’Connor, and they’ve done well in Raleigh with the N.C. Symphony. We’re trying to keep the movie audience (from the fall-to-spring Pops season) over the summer, and people love to picnic in the park. So we’re trying a mix.”
Summer ticketing has become complex. You can buy packages that combine uptown and Symphony Park events, get tickets to individual shows or join the Premium Seating Club at Symphony Park, “an all-inclusive experience that includes VIP parking, a reserved chair under the shade of a tent, and a boxed picnic from Reid’s Fine Foods.” You’ll get details at 704-972-2000 or charlottesymphony.org.
Indoor performances begin at 7:30, outdoor ones at 8:15; Symphony Park shows start with a prelude concert at 7 p.m. Gates open near SouthPark Mall at 5, and parking there is still free. Here’s the summer lineup:
June 13: The Kruger Brothers, Knight Theater. The N.C.-based, Blue Ridge Music Hall of Famers blend folk, jazz and classical traditions.
June 17: “Music of John Williams,” Symphony Park. “Star Wars,” “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park” and other film scores get a hearing under conductor David Glover.
June 22: “Back to the Future,” Belk Theater. The 1985 movie about a time-traveler won an Oscar for best sound effects editing and introduced the Huey Lewis song “The Power of Love.”
June 24: “Best of Broadway,” Symphony Park. Albert-George Schram leads excerpts from “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady,” etc.
July 1: “Celebrate America!”, Symphony Park. Schram conducts Sousa marches, the Armed Forces Medley, “America the Beautiful” and a finale capped with fireworks.
This story is part of an Observer underwriting project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, supporting arts journalism in Charlotte.