WITH ALL-STAR PRESENTERS GARTH BROOKS AND JOHN WILLIAMS, JOINED BY SPECIAL GUESTS ROGER DALTREY, ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO, FREDERICA VON STADE AND TRISHA YEARWOOD, ANNUAL OPENING NIGHT TRIBUTE RAISES NEARLY $1 MILLION FOR MUSIC MATTERS, THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC’S MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS
The stars came out to celebrate one of the first and most festive signs of summer, Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl, Friday, June 19, at 8:30 p.m. The special evening, made more special by the 10th Anniversary of the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, boasted a program of entertaining tributes, jaw-dropping performances, a few fun surprises and the induction of legendary opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and internationally-renowned singer Josh Groban into the Hall of Fame. Video montages of each honoree were shown on the venue’s four large screens, showcasing their professional and personal achievements. The first-ever Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductees Garth Brooks and John Williams, inducted in 2001, were on hand to introduce the festive evening, which included performances by 2003 Hall of Fame inductee Roger Daltrey and 2005 Hall of Fame inductee Trisha Yearwood. The opening event of the 88th season of the iconic venue also featured the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins. The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised nearly $1 million for Music Matters, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music education programs, which serves more than 120,000 youths and teachers every year.
The celebratory evening began with a spontaneous and raucous demonstration of rhythmic beats – involving dinner equipment generously supplied by Patina – by 18 percussionists/dancers. Following that attention-getting opener, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (HBO) under the baton of Thomas Wilkins, played the National Anthem, which was followed by a stirring video charting the 10-year history of the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. After greetings to the audience from original inductees Garth Brooks and John Williams, the orchestra launched into Tchaikovsky’s Coronation Festival March. Actors Jamie Pressley (NBC’s “My Name is Earl”) and Bill Paxton (HBO’s “Big Love”) took the stage to introduce a student musician presentation featuring 11 first-grade harpists and nine third-grade drummers from Moffett Elementary in Lennox, representing some of the many young people who will benefit from the evening. The young musicians, who performed Paisaje by Alfredo Ortiz, have studied music through the LA Philharmonic’s partnership with the school and are in an intensive multi-year harp program on their school campus initiated by LA Philharmonic harpist Lou Anne Neill. The inspiring performance was followed by 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee and special guest Trisha Yearwood’s rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies began with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, introduced by her long-time friend and collaborator Frederica von Stade. Following her acceptance, Te Kanawa treated the audience to her powerful vocals with performances of Cilea’s Io Son ‘lUmile Ancella, Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and Gershwin’s By Strauss, all backed by Wilkins and the HBO. Von Stade returned to lend her voice in a duet with Te Kanawa, Mozart’s Ah Guarda, Sorella, during which both extolled the virtues of their respective boyfriends while seated in front of easels and at the end revealing portraits of Garth Brooks and John Williams. Te Kanawa concluded her performance with Victor Herbert’s Art is Calling for Me, poking fun at the definition of a diva.
The second half of the special evening began with a look at the audience as the event’s co-chairs – Sandy and Barry Pressman, Barbara and Jay Rasulo, and Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar – and past inductees – Monty Python’s Eric Idle, inducted in 2001, and HBO Founding Director and 2007 Hall of Fame inductee John Mauceri – were acknowledged by the voice of the Hall of Fame concerts for all 10 years, Classical KUSC FM 91.5’s Rich Capparela.
Back on the stage, 2003 Hall of Fame inductee and special guest Roger Daltrey performed classic hits from The Who’s Tommy, “Pinball Wizard,” and a medley of “See Me, Feel Me” and “Listening to You.” Accompanying Daltrey were pianist Keith Levenson, a 12-member chorus and Wilkins with the HBO.
The second Hall of Fame induction ceremony followed, as Josh Groban was presented his award by frequent collaborator and friend, Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo. Following his acceptance, Groban – along with Wilkins and the HBO, a five-piece rhythm section and Groban’s music director Tariqh Akoni on guitar – performed Canto Alla Vita, featuring Groban on keyboards and drums, followed by his own composition, “February Song,” “Pearls,” in which Kidjo joined, and “Smile.” Groban continued with “Anthem” featuring members from the chorus of his alma mater, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Wilkins and the HBO, the five-piece rhythm section and Akoni.
In another surprise of the evening Dame Edna Everage, fresh from her performance of Dame Edna: My Last Tour at the Ahmanson Theatre, appeared for a special salute to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Josh Groban, which led into a duet of “True Love” by the new Hall of Fame inductees, accompanied by Mark Stevens on piano.
The evening wrapped with a bang – literally – as John Williams took the stage to lead the HBO in “Star Wars Main Title” accompanied by a spectacular fireworks show. A number of film and television personalities as well as local city officials were on hand to enjoy the performance, including Beau Bridges, who will perform in Guys and Dolls at the Bowl later this summer, Andrea Bowen, Cristián de la Fuente, Chelsie Hightower, Melora Hardin, Peter Ishkans, Anne Jeffreys, Christine Lahti, Esteban Powell, Priscilla Presley, Stephen Root, Ann Rutherford, Fred Willard, Los Angeles County Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board Chairman David Bohnett, Los Angeles Philharmonic President Deborah Borda and Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Operating Officer Arvind Manocha.
The “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame” was conceived on behalf of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association by Wayne Baruch and Charles F. Gayton, who have created and produced all 10 Hall of Fame opening concerts. Established in 2000, the Hall of Fame identifies and pays tribute to artists whose unique achievements embody the spirit of the world-renowned Hollywood Bowl. The Hall of Fame is now part of a new exhibit on the main floor of the Hollywood Bowl Museum that includes photos and film of inductees over the years.
Prior to the concert, benefit patrons enjoyed a VIP cocktail reception decorated in a “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Retrospective” theme to highlight the 10-year anniversary. The décor, designed by Caravents, featured vignettes showcasing a mix of past honorees and program artwork over the past 10 years in a combination of gold, bronze and wood picture frames and suspended from the fabric walls. Two furniture vignettes provided lounge-style seating accented by floral arrangements in fuschia, purple and persimmon. Towering floral displays were positioned on the bars and food stations and hanging bamboo cages and pierced metal lanterns with floral detailing hung from the rafters. Bars and food stations were outfitted in custom aubergine suede fitted linens and cocktail tables featured fitted chocolate suede linens. An aubergine entry carpet led patrons into the VIP reception.
The dinner box décor, also designed by Caravents, followed the same design theme with white table linens provided by Classic Party Rentals, and petite floral arrangements in small gold vases with fuschia, purple and persimmon tones.
For dinner, gala patrons enjoyed a special 10th anniversary menu provided by Patina and served on natural material recyclable plates. The first course consisted of a light summer salad of butter lettuce, plum tomato and wood-grilled asparagus with spiced almonds and maytag bleu cheese. Entrée options included salmon with a mustard crust, lemon lime couscous, cherry tomatoes, mild curry and a soft herb salad or zucchini salad with artichokes, almonds and curry dressing with sweet peppers and tomatoes on-the-vine. The dessert offerings were special “10th Anniversary Cupcakes” and tropical fruit with a fresh red berry sauce. Wine for the evening was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards.
Te Kanawa and Groban join the distinguished company of past artists – John Williams, Garth Brooks, Marilyn Horne, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, John Raitt, Monty Python, Kathleen Battle, Randy Newman, Bernadette Peters, Leopold Stokowski, George Harrison, the Smothers Brothers, Roger Daltrey, Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane, Henry Mancini, Sarah Chang, Brian Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Joshua Bell, Frank Sinatra, Carlos Santana, André Watts, Plácido Domingo, John Mauceri, Liza Minnelli, Sir James Galway and B.B. King – previously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Drawn from the diverse arena of musical entertainment, including classical, pop, jazz, musical theater, film composition, and dance, Hall of Fame honorees receive their tributes each summer as part of the Bowl’s annual opening night celebration.
The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl Committee was co-chaired by Sandy and Barry Pressman; Barbara and Jay Rasulo; and Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar. Opening Night sponsors are: Gallo Family Vineyards, Goodyear Tire & Rubber and the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and is home to the best and brightest in all genres of music. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 42nd season. In January 2009, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fifth year in a row at the 20th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.
Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl 2009 is generously sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards, Goodyear Tire & Rubber and the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts.
Sophie Jefferies, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213.972.3422; Lisa White, email@example.com, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034