After a strong early season in which the orchestra performed some of the 20th century’s most challenging modern compositions, the Santa Barbara Symphony plans to celebrate on Monday, December 31 by “Dancing in the Streets” with a Motown-themed pops concert under the baton of Bob Bernhardt. Of course they won’t actually be in the streets, but audience members at the Granada may find themselves boogieing out the door and onto a festive State Street after listening to this high energy program of soul hits done with a symphonic sound. The show begins at 8:30 and ends at 10:30, leaving people plenty of time to either reach their party destination in time for midnight or else achieve complete relaxation at home before 2018 becomes history.
No celebration of this music would be complete without some serious voices involved, and this show is no exception. Three top singers are set to appear: Shayna Steele, Chester Gregory, and Michael Lynche. Together they will bring live excitement to the music of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and more. Chester Gregory was Berry Gordy on Broadway in Motown the Musical, so he knows a thing or two about the repertoire. On the last Friday of 2018 I spoke by phone with Michael Lynche, who will be familiar to fans of the American Idol program for his journey to the finals of season nine. Lynche will reprise a couple of his favorite numbers from that season, including the James Brown classic “A Man’s World” and “Song for You,” which was popularized by the great Donny Hathaway. Lynche said that he’s worked “every New Year’s Eve for the last decade, so it’s become a kind of tradition.” He’s particularly excited about this show because he loves the sound of an orchestra welling up behind him when he launches into one of these great numbers. There’s still time to join this party, so if you fancy dancing in the streets, or the aisles, go to granadasb.org or call 899-2222.