Conductor wanted for UMass Amherst Pops Gala

The Department of Music and Dance is auctioning off the opportunity to conduct “Stars and Stripes Forever” at the Second Annual UMass Amherst Pops Gala on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium.

Chancellor and Mrs. John V. Lombardi and other dignitaries from the campus and community will attend the concert, in addition to 350 alumni, friends and business people.

The conductor will be photographed with the chancellor and will have their name on the printed concert program. They will also receive a recording of the performance, a baton, a plaque commemorating the event and a complimentary bottle of champagne at their table. The conductor will also have an opportunity to rehearse with the Pops Orchestra. Last year, state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) was conductor.

The UMass Amherst Pops Gala, which is modeled after the Boston Pops, will feature a concert of light classics played by the Pops Orchestra under the direction of Lanfranco Marcelletti, Jr. Jazz and dance music from the 1920s will be performed by the Speak Easy Dancers under the direction of associate professor Billbob Brown and the Mill River Stompers under the direction of professor Jeffrey Holmes. In keeping with the Boston Pops model, patrons sit at tables, with food and drink served periodically.

The Pops Orchestra will perform several works, including “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin with professor Nadine Shank, piano soloist; music from Leonard Bernstein''s “Candide” and “West Side Story”; selections from “Billy the Kid” by Aaron Copland, and John Philip Sousa''s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The Speak Easy Dancers will perform the “Charleston” and “Tango,” and the Mill River Stompers will perform works such as “Tiger Rag,” “Black Bottom Stomp” and “Hotter Than That.”

The concert sold out on April 3. Funds from the highest bidder for conductor will go directly to scholarships for students in the Department of Music and Dance. Bidding closes on Monday, April 25 at 5 p.m.