For Immediate Release

Media Contact: John Cain
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
707.800.7513

Arts Center reveals several conductor surprises, including Santa Rosa Symphony’s Francesco Lecce-Chong’s series debut, Pops Conductor Emeritus Michael Berkowitz’ holiday concert return, and the newly named Principal Pops Conductor at the podium for the final two concerts

Santa Rosa, Calif. April 23, 2024 – Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC) today announced the performance line-up for the 2024-25 season of the Santa Rosa Symphony Pops Series, in anticipation of a new Principal Pops Conductor, who will take the helm for the final two concerts of the 19th season. LBC also announced several conductor surprises, including Santa Rosa Symphony Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong’s series debut, Pops Conductor Emeritus Michael Berkowitz’ holiday concert return, and the newly named Principal Pops Conductor, who will take the podium for the final two concerts. The Center expects to announce the new conductor in May. 

Subscription packages for the 19th Symphony Pops season include all four concerts and pre-concert talks. New subscriptions will begin to go on sale June 4, 2024. Individual concert tickets will go on sale to the public on August 20, 2024.

“Our 19th season is poised to be a spectacular celebration of musical excellence, and the anticipation is palpable as we eagerly await the announcement of the new Principal Pops Conductor,” said Rick Nowlan, President and CEO. “The energy and excitement surrounding this upcoming season underscore the commitment of the LBC to deliver unforgettable experiences that resonate with our vibrant community.”

The 2024-25 Pops Series opens on Sunday, October 6, 2024, with Harry Potter & the Magic of Music, led by Santa Rosa Symphony Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong in his series debut. Lecce-Chong, the orchestra, and choristers from the ArtQuest Concert Choir join forces for an exploration of beloved musical scores, including John Williams’ greatest hits from the Harry Potter film series, “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, and more.

On Sunday, December 15, 2024, Santa Rosa favorites LC Powell and Chris Jason are accompanied by Pops Conductor Emeritus Michael Berkowitz, who returns to the LBC stage with his dynamic and charismatic conducting style. The ultimate holiday concert, the performance will feature classic songs by Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee, Percy Faith, Karen Carpenter, and Elvis Presley – all backed by the Santa Rosa Symphony Pops playing the original arrangements.

The final two concerts in the 2024-25 Pops Series will be conducted by the new Principal Pops Conductor, who will be named in May 2024.  Patrons will discover what The Beatles would have sounded like if they had the chance to perform live in concert with a symphony orchestra, when Classical Mystery Tour: The Music of the Beatles performs on Sunday, February 16, 2025. Since its initial performance in 1996 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (now renamed Segerstrom Center for the Arts), Classical Mystery Tour has become the #1 Symphony Pops attraction over its two decades. The group has been performing consistently for nearly 25 years, with more than 100 orchestras in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The 2024-25 Pops Series concludes on Sunday, April 27, 2025, with a nostalgic journey through the iconic works of the legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon. Featuring Simon’s unique artistry as a songwriter from his years with Simon and Garfunkel through his solo albums Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, the performance will be orchestrated by Jeff Tyzik and highlighted by three solo vocalists – Paul Loren, Emily Drennan, and Daniel Berryman. It will include many of Simon’s greatest hits, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “The Sound of Silence,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” 

Season ticket package prices range from $128 to $312. Single tickets range from $43 to $104. Tickets and information are available online at lutherburbankcenter.org, by phone at 707-546-3600, or at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts Box Office, 50 Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa.

About the Santa Rosa Symphony

Santa Rosa Symphony, the Resident Orchestra of the Green Music Center, is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California, and the largest regional symphony orchestra north of Los Angeles. The Symphony is committed to the core values of artistic excellence, innovative programming, comprehensive music education, and community service. The Symphony is recognized as having one of California’s most comprehensive music education programs, serving nearly 20,000 youths annually. Collaborations with schools and organizations across Sonoma County have gained the Santa Rosa Symphony national attention and support. Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Symphony’s fifth music director in its 96 years, began his tenure in 2018. J. Andrew Bradford joined Santa Rosa Symphony as President and CEO in 2023.

About Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts is home to world-class performances, nationally recognized education programs, contemporary visual art, and many popular events. The Arts Center is located in the heart of the Sonoma wine country and ranked among California’s top performing arts presenters. Together with its resident companies, the Center presents more than 230 performances in music, dance, theater, renowned speakers, and comedy; provides education programs serving more than 50,000 children and adults; and hosts more than 1,000 community events a year. Owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, the Center relies on charitable community donations to achieve its mission – to enrich, educate, and entertain.

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2024-25 Symphony Pops Series

All shows include a pre-show discussion at 2:00 pm

Harry Potter & The Magic of Music
Conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong and featuring ArtQuest Concert Choir from Santa Rosa High School
Sunday, October 6, 2024, at 3:00 pm.

Lecce-Chong, the orchestra, and choristers from the ArtQuest Concert Choir join forces for an exploration of beloved musical scores, including John Williams’ greatest hits from the Harry Potter film series, “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, and more. Generous support provided by Nancy and Michael Hall and Gordon Blumenfeld.

Holiday Pops
Conducted by Mike Berkowitz and featuring vocalists LC Powell and Chris Jason
Sunday, December 15, 2024, at 3:00 pm.

The ultimate holiday concert, the performance will feature classic songs by Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee, Percy Faith, Karen Carpenter, and Elvis Presley – all backed by the Santa Rosa Symphony Pops playing the original arrangements. Generous support provided by Nancy and Michael Hall and The Heck Foundation.

Classical Mystery Tour: The Music of the Beatles
Conductor to be announced.
Sunday, February 16, 2025, at 3:00 pm.

Patrons will discover what The Beatles would have sounded like if they had the chance to perform live in concert with a symphony orchestra. Generous support provided by Nancy and Michael Hall. 

The Paul Simon Songbook
Conductor to be announced.

Featured soloists: Paul Loren, Emily Drennan, and Daniel Berryman
Sunday, April 27, 2025, at 3:00 pm.

Featuring Simon’s unique artistry as a songwriter from his years with Simon and Garfunkel through his solo albums Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, the performance will be orchestrated by Jeff Tyzik. Generous support provided by Nancy and Michael Hall.

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