Pacific Symphony: July concerts

This month we get fully into the summer mode, with four concerts outdoors.

Our July 4 Spectacular this year features Brass Transit, a Chicago tribute band that will perform hits such as “You’re the Inspiration,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “If You Leave Me Now,” and others along with the orchestra. Conductor Richard Kaufman and the musicians add patriotic tunes and a tribute to the armed forces. Fireworks cap the performance. Parking is free. Tickets here

The orchestra also appears at the Pacific Amphitheater at OC Fair and Event Center on July 12 with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Tickets here

Our annual free community parks concerts, Symphony in the Cities, are in Mission Viejo and Irvine on July 28 and July 29, respectively. As always, Carl St.Clair conducts and there are lots of extracurricular activities for everyone. No tickets required.

You can also catch the musicians on PBS this month. PBS SoCal (KOCE) is running rebroadcasts of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony,” the orchestra’s debut on the long-running “Great Performances” series. Air times are : 7 p.m. July 4; and 1 a.m. July 5 on PBS SoCal 1; 7 and 11 p.m. July 5 and 4, 8 and 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. July 6 on PBS SoCal 2.

Symphony in the Cities program announced

This summer’s Symphony in the Cities concerts, conducted by Carl St.Clair, will be held in Mission Viejo and Irvine on July 28 and July 29, respectively. Programming for these alfresco events has now been announced. The musical fare will include selections from American musicals, patriotic songs and marches, and operatic hits. Soprano Chelsea Chaves and tenor Nick Preston are the guests.

The concert begins with the arrival of the children (who will have been coached by St.Clair) to conduct John Philip Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” March, a tradition on these occasions.

A set from American musicals comes next, featuring music by Gershwin (from “Strike Up the Band” and “Girl Crazy”) and Lerner and Loewe (from “My Fair Lady”).

Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” Suite (arranged by Jack Mason) and the Mambo from same transition to an operatic set that includes the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” and famous arias from Puccini (including “Nessun dorma”) and Verdi.

The event winds up with a medley saluting the armed forces, “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” in sing-along performances and, of course, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Upcoming concerts

‘Tis the season between seasons, but there are still a few things to listen to.

Acclaimed contemporary music pianist Gloria Cheng will make a guest appearance on the next “Sonic Kitchen” concert (8 p.m. June 29 at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art). Cheng joins members of the Pacific Symphony in a program to include music by George Crumb (the “Vox Balaenae”); Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Mohammed Fairouz and Frederic Rzewski (selections from “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”).The concert is part of the Center’s current exhibit “Art as Protest” and will be performed in the galleries. Pre-concert events begin at 7:15; attendees can view the exhibit and purchase craft beers and wines at this time. Tickets are $20. Visit pacificsymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

At 7 p.m. on June 30, conductor Gregory X. Whitmore will lead the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble in a preview of the tour programs that they will take to Vienna in July. Whitmore will select items from the touring repertoire by Bach, Ticheli, Whitacre, J. Strauss II, Sousa, Basler and Perrine. At the Claire Trevor Theatre, UCI. Tickets are free.

The official opener of the orchestra’s summer season is again July 4, but this year it’s held at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, the group’s new outdoor home. Pops conductor Richard Kaufman directs a program of film and patriotic music and is joined by Matt Ryan & The American dream for a set of “Symphonic Springsteen.” With Fireworks. Tickets start at $25; military comes free. 8 p.m.

We also recommend, the 37th annual Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar, June 18-25. Artistic director and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock calls this year’s agenda a “Festival of Novelties,” and among other offerings it will include a fencing demonstration set to Baroque music; a program devoted to music for four violas da gamba; and a “Music from Monticello” concert. Sunday’s closer (June 25), featuring the stereophonic music that Monteverdi and Gabrieli wrote St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, looks particularly attractive. For info here.