Famed and fave conductor of the Pasadena Pops, Michael Feinstein, graced the outdoor stage on a sultry summer night at the Arboretum in Arcadia, performing beloved tunes of the “First Ladies of Song.” His mesmerizing voice, along with guest vocalists Lynn Roberts and Cady Huffman, performed the perennial favorites of Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, and Peggy Lee. The orchestral overtures of Annie Get Your Gun, Funny Girl, and Porgy and Bess were true standouts of the evening as well. Old favorites, such as Keely Smith’s “I Wish You Love,” Garland’s “The Trolley Song,” and Streisand’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade” along with “Fascinating Rhythm” “Big Spender” and a tropical rendition of “Mangos” rounded off the summer fun.
The song choice provided for the perfect blend of sizzle, nostalgia and romance, making for a summer evening of perfect entertainment. A showstopper who truly wowed the crowd is Madelyn Baillio, belting out songs from the American songbook, with a blossoming career, no doubt, ahead of her. Her voice is distinct, with a smoky smoothness, quite jazzy in tone. All of the instrumentalists of the Pasadena Pops Symphony were of top caliber, especially the pianist, very stylistic, with a touch of blues bar influence. The boldness of the strings and brass sections added extra energy and pulsating vibrato. Feinstein’s talent, combined with the charismatic energy of musicians and vocalists, along with his constant interaction with audience, sharing personal anecdotes of the iconic women being honored, made for a spectacular event.
Amidst the backdrop of the sun setting against a pink/blue sky, almost somewhere over the rainbow, and the lush greenery surrounds, it was the optimal venue for the audience to “forget their troubles, come on get happy, and chase all their blues away.”
For upcoming musical concerts/performances, visit www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org