The Buffalo Philharmonic's Memorial Day tradition will get an updated twist this year.
The BPO and Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus present "Star Spangled Pops" at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 23, and at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, as part of the BlueCross BlueShield Pops Series.
Current and former military personnel are invited to attend free of charge. They can obtain a free ticket to either presentation of the concert by presenting their military ID at the BPO box office at Kleinhans, while ticket supplies last. Complimentary coffee and donuts are available before the Friday morning concert.
Jonathan Tessero, a candidate for the position of principal pops conductor at the BPO, will lead this concert. Tessero has developed a program of music that will resonate with everyone who has served their country, whether they fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. The updated program blends music by Trace Adkins, Kelly Clarkson, Tim McGraw and Bruce Springsteen with Tessero's arrangements of classics such as "Stars and Stripes Forever" and "Armed Forces Salute." Tessero will be joined by two singers, Jackie Stressman and Michael Moore, and by the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.
The night before the first concert, Tessero and Stressman will appear at the Piano and Organ Center at Eastern Hills Mall at 7 p.m. in a preview of the concert. Eastern Hills Mall patrons will be able to hear Tessero's arrangements all week long on the mall's Yamaha Disklavier.
Tessero made his Broadway debut as a pianist at age 18, and has since become a respected music director and symphonic conductor, as well as an in-demand creative consultant. He has produced on Broadway twice, and has written a documentary that plays daily at the National World War II Museum. As a music consultant and event music producer, his clients include The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Corinthian Capital and Solomon Group, for whom he was the creative director of CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLVII, and the 2013 Essence Fest headlined by Beyonce.
Stressman is the youngest first soprano in the 30-year history of the Disney singing group Voices of Liberty and has toured with has toured with the Gospel Musical Hall of Fame's TRUTH. Moore has done six seasons with the Los Angeles Opera and appeared on their Grammy-winning recording "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny." His numerous Broadway credits include "Cyrano, The Musical" and "Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol."