Hometown Heroesby Jacqueline Bull June 5, 2019
The San Diego Symphony is lighting up the bay with a full summer of evening concerts. Bayside Summer Nights is back with new shows in beloved series, countless genres, a world premiere, even a new food menu and a collaboration with their neighbors, the Padres.
“There are certain things that our audiences come to expect in the summer, but it is not enough to just say we’re going to do Star Spangled Pops at the beginning of the summer. We don’t consider anything a cookie cutter or just rest on our laurels from last year. There are a number of those programs that appear, but there are new names attached,” Martha Gilmer, CEO of the San Diego Symphony, said.
For instance, Star Spangled Pops will be conducted by Todd Ellison joined by the artist he is working with, Ross Lekites of “Frozen” and “Kinky Boots” fame.
“Something that has really become a hallmark is when we do a Broadway tribute. And this year we are doing a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein and Rodgers and Hart–
the collaboration of lyricist and composer. That is led by Rob Fisher who is a Broadway conductor. And he brings with him the most wonderful soloists,” Martha said.
They also have a big offering of classical music concerts. They always end with Tchaikovsky and the 1812 overture (Aug. 30-Sep. 1) and are going to bring back Beethoven for a second year (Aug. 4) with a different symphony.
“So if you want an introduction, or you’ve listened to classical music all your life, it is a great opportunity and a great location to be able to experience that,” Martha said.
And special this year is a big collaboration with the Padres.
“We’re paying tribute to our own San Diego Padres at their 50th anniversary on the 30th of June. And we’ve been working closely with the Padres in making this a dynamic show with images and narration about the Padres. And it really will be a musical, but also a theatrical tribute to the club. We’re proud to be partners and also neighbors of the Padres. We’re excited about that and they are a terrific institution. They do so much good in the community and they mirror our values in that way because the San Diego Symphony also believes in giving back to the community. And I’m just impressed with everybody we work with there,” Martha said.
The Padres and the Symphony (especially when performing in the Bayside park) are indeed neighbors and both provide a true to San Diego experience for both locals and
“The thing I like about that park–first of all a beautiful park–and also it is a full-on experience. You get there early, the food is really good, the ambiance is great, people are there to have a nice classy time. It is a night out. Those are the same values we embrace at the Bayside Performance Park,” Martha added.
And with this collaboration came a renewed focus on the concessions for the concerts. In addition to their selection of wines and beers, they are adding local vendors. There will be tacos from Lola 55 and wood-fired pizzas from Biga, (“a real taste of San Diego and partnering with local chefs; It’s a win-win”).
Incorporating film has been a big hit with newer audiences. They screen the film and have a live orchestra playing the score.
“Film works really well outdoors…The realization when everybody sits down and says, ‘Oh my gosh there was full symphony orchestra accompanying this show’…that recorded the score in the original version and now we get to hear a live orchestra play it. It is a great way for people being introduced to an orchestra what a symphonic orchestra is because you hear it, but you don’t see it when you go to a film,” Martha said.
This year they will have “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceTM” (July 13-14) which is the sixth movie to pick up from the “Harry Potter” series from last year. They will also have “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes BackTM” Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.
Other sci-fi offerings will dovetail with the Comic Con crowd. They will also be doing “Back to the Future in Concert” (July 20), and the world premiere of “Galaxy QuestTM” (July 19) with its original composer, David Newman, conducting.
Martha adds that regardless of what you may be interested in seeing, outdoor concerts make a great occasion to bring out the kids or grandkids for a nice family evening.
“The city lights go up and the sun goes down. The bay is beautiful, that evening breeze, it probably is the iconic location in the state.”