Tony DeSare | Credit: Courtesy

At this point in the Santa Barbara Symphony’s (SBS) impressive 70th anniversary concert season, the curtain has dropped on the classical division. May’s finale concert closed out to the affable tune of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, on a program also including Jonathan Leshnoff’s orchestral-music-showcasing Concerto Grosso, actually commissioned by the SBS for its 60th anniversary. It was full-circle time at The Granada Theatre.

But wait, there’s more: Next Thursday, June 15, the Symphony is serving up an aperitif-style concert to cap off the special season, with a focus on Frank Sinatra, a generation and demographic-crossing favorite. An Evening with Sinatra features an acclaimed pretender to the Sinatra throne, nimble jazz crooner Tony DeSare. The program arrives lined in orchestral arrangements — a textural touch Sinatra himself often enjoyed, in the embrace of arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and Claus Ogerman.

DeSare is the Sinatra for the job, suitable for giving authenticity to the stuff of “Come Fly with Me,” “My Way,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “New York, New York,” among other gems in the canon. DeSare’s early career found him winning the “Rising Star Male Vocalist” award from DownBeat magazine, and he has gone on to fame as a singer, songwriter and in the world of film scoring.

Next Thursday’s “extra credit” Sinatra-themed program comes on the heels of a season program with wider genre references than usual for the SBS. Among the offerings in the past season was an intriguing premiere by Cody Westheimer featuring Chumash themes and narration, and a popcorn orchestral outing of music by iconic film composer John Williams. As maestro Nir Kabaretti surmised in a recent statement, “Our intention this season was to create unique symphonic experiences with audiences across an expansive range of musical genres — from jazz, pop, film scores, theater, and even the art of Chumash spoken word.”

And for the final touch, a leap into the world of Sinatra, a special orchestral tribute to a “pop” legend whose legacy transcends comparisons or easy genre classification.

An Evening with Sinatra, presented by the Santa Barbara Symphony, takes place on Thursday, June 15, at The Granada Theatre. For more information, see


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