Mission: To seek and share inspiration


Here, There and Everywhere

Meghan Berneking


Orchestra to perform at Riverbend, Taft, Great American Ball Park, Washington Park and other locations throughout the summer.


While conventional wisdom might maintain that the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra performs September through May and takes a break during the summer, reality could not be more different. As a full-time orchestra—one of only 15 in the country—the CSO and Pops perform frequently throughout the summer months. Some of these performances take place as part of the May Festival (May 22-30), Cincinnati World Piano Competition (June 7-13) and Cincinnati Opera (June 18-July 31) seasons—the CSO is the official orchestra of these partner organizations. Other concerts feature the Orchestra on its own and in venues throughout the Greater Cincinnati region.


The Pops isn’t wasting any time kicking off its summer season this year. On Saturday, June 6 the crowd-pleasing “Broadway Sing-Along” program returns to Riverbend Music Center’s Corbett Pavilion by popular demand. Audience members can belt out their favorite Broadway hits (or just tap their feet, if they prefer to save singing for the shower or road trips), from classic and contemporary shows like South Pacific and Wicked. Pops Conductor John Morris Russell leads the charge, alongside vocalists Julia Murney (who previously performed with the Pops as part of “Wicked Divas” in 2009) and Doug LaBrecque, as well as Cincinnati’s own Young Professional Choral Collective and the winners of the ArtsWave “CincySings” competition. Veteran Riverbend concertgoers know that a Pops concert on the lawn is more than just a musical experience. It’s a picnic, Frisbee game, cicada concert, barge viewing and all-around summer party. Bring the family, especially since kids sit on the lawn for free at this concert.

On Thursday, June 25, the Pops heads north to Prouty Plaza in Troy, OH for its annual community concert. Troy residents (and those die-hard fans traveling from elsewhere) will enjoy hits from Broadway and the big screen, American anthems and the catchiest tunes from orchestral repertoire in this free, family-friendly performance.


JMR and the Pops return to Miami Whitewater Forest in Harrison, OH Wednesday, July 1 for another free community concert. Then on Friday, July 3 Reds fans are in for an extra treat, as JMR and the Pops perform a live concert choreographed to Rozzi’s famous post-game fireworks at Great American Ballpark. The performance is free to all game ticket holders.

The Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same without hot dogs, apple pie, fireworks and the Pops. The Orchestra returns to Riverbend for an Independence Day celebration featuring the music that defines America. JMR leads an all-star cast, including Aoife O’Donovan (who left her mark during her Pops debut in January for the “American Originals” concerts), baritone Nmon Ford, the May Festival Summer Chorus and the USO Show Troupe. Again, kids sit free on the lawn, and after-concert fireworks cap the evening. On July 18, the Pops takes things to warp speed at the newly-renovated Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati to perform the heart-pumping score live in synch with the 2009 blockbuster film Star Trek (PG-13). The full-length, action-packed film by leading Hollywood master J.J. Abrams reveals the origins of Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew with a thrilling orchestral score by Michael Giacchino adding drama and excitement.

The Pops travels to Washington Court House, OH on Monday, July 20 to perform its traditional concert as part of the Fayette County Fair. The concert, which has become an annual highlight of the fair, is free with fair admission. On Friday, July 24 the Pops welcomes comedian and crooner Seth MacFarlane to PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center. Though perhaps best known for his animated work for the television show Family Guy and the movie about a foulmouthed teddy bear named Ted, Mr. MacFarlane has established himself as a talented singer and pianist reviving Rat Pack style and sophistication.


One word: LUMENOCITY®. To say the Orchestra’s summer season will close with a bang would be a massive understatement. LUMENOCITY has become not only a groundbreaking musical experience, but the highlight of the Cincinnati summer. The Festival returns to Washington Park August 5-9, bringing with it popular music performed by the Orchestra under the batons of both JMR and Music Director Louis Langrée along with the awe-inspiring 3D image mapping on the façade of Music Hall. Fans may register for the opportunity to purchase tickets at lumenocity2015.com through Saturday May 16. (Ten percent of tickets will be distributed through human service organizations for free so the families and individuals these agencies serve throughout the region can attend at no charge.) Subscribers and donors will be eligible for a presale. LUMENOCITY will also be presented via live radio and television broadcasts and a free web stream. Cincinnati holds great pride in this great experiment, where neighbors meet and communities grow in the midst of a shared artistic experience.