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Honolulu's new pops program debuts this month

Honolulu gets a new pops program this month. Expect more than just up-tempo performances. There’ll be dinner and dancing, too.


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Photo: courtesy tommy ewasko and glendale arts
 

Matt Catingub is no rookie when it comes to symphonic pops programs. For 12 years, he was the pops conductor of the Honolulu Symphony. He was also the principal pops conductor of the New Mexico Symphony, the Glendale Pops Orchestra in California and has guest conducted for several others. But the Islands were calling again, and since the pops programs have always been a big hit locally, Catingub teamed with veteran community fundraiser Donna Bebber to form the Hawaii Pops, a nonprofit dedicated to nothing but live, popular, symphonic music.

The season’s debut concert, with country star Jo Dee Messina, opens Sept. 14 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Every performance is more than a spectacle, though. “It’s not a concert, it’s more of an event,” says Catingub. By that he means dinner and drinks during the shows, and a dance floor nearby for people to get down when the music inspires them.

In addition to the six once-a-month performances, Hawaii Pops musicians will hold intimate performances, often with Mainland jazz artists, at Lewers Lounge in the Halekulani. “We wanted a New York cabaret style, and Lewers is such a great lounge,” says Catingub. Tickets go on sale for the Live at Lewers performances this month.

Expect even more from Hawaii Pops in the near future, says the artistic director. The organization wants to get involved in music education and work with the Hawaii Youth Symphony. “Pops is only a part of what we’re doing,” says Catingub with a laugh.

Tickets: $35 to $75. hawaiipops.com
 

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