In Sunday’s (11/23) Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), Silas Allen reports that decades ago pops orchestras filled seats “by booking popular performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, or Eydie Gorme…. Those performers built their fame in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and became household names during performances on television variety shows.… ‘That type of artist from that generation, they don’t really exist anymore,’ says Oklahoma City Philharmonic executive director Eddie Walker…. So about 10 years ago, the orchestra began to revamp its pops series to appeal to a broader audience. Since then, the orchestra’s Pops series has included the music of Michael Jackson and Queen, and guest performances by Oregon-based group Pink Martini.… Some longtime season ticket holders rebelled, but many switched to the orchestra’s Classics series. Meanwhile, season ticket sales for the Pops series grew…. Walker says attendance at the philharmonic’s Classics series remains as strong as it ever was. Music by composers like Mozart and Mahler have a timeless quality that performers like Madonna and Michael Jackson don’t share, Walker said, so several generations are often sitting side by side at those performances. ‘The classical repertoire is universal. That music lasts for a reason.’ ”

Posted November 26, 2014