Tag Archives: Levitt Pavilion

Missed The Pops Concert? It’s All Here!

It’s hard to top last Friday’s Westport schools pops concert at Levitt Pavilion.

But Jim Honeycutt’s video comes close.

The former Staples High School media teacher led a camera crew that captured all the music, passion and joy from the instantly-sold-out event.

You don’t need to fix a picnic and spread out a blanket to enjoy this great video.

But it sure wouldn’t hurt.

Pops! Goes The Concert

After 1296 straight days of rain and cold, the sun finally came out today.

This evening, so did the crowds.

Over 1,500 people — proud parents, folks whose kids graduated from school back in the 20th century, little kids who were born in the 2010s — packed the Levitt Pavilion for the 2nd annual Westport Pops concert.

A bottle of wine, some Pops, and wow!

The Bedford Middle School jazz ensemble, and Long Lots’ steel drum band — is there another elementary school with one this side of the islands? — warmed up the crowd.

Orphenians sang the same stirring arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that they wowed crowds with at Yankee Stadium.

The Long Lots Elementary School steel band.

Then Staples’ 3 orchestras, Orphenians (again) and jazz band took over.

Staples High School’s brassy sax ensemble.

The program rolled from “West Side Story” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” to Dolly Parton and freedom songs. Madison Malin and Riley Thrush nailed solos.

Madison Malin solos, Luke Rosenberg conducts, and the Orphenians sing Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.”

And then — waving American flags handed out by the musicians — the enormous crowd clapped along to a rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Stars and stripes on the Levitt lawn, during “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

A night like this was worth all 12,960 days of rain and cold.

“Live at Lincoln Center” producer Andrew Wilk guest conducts the symphonic and sophomore orchestras in “Stars and Stripes Forever.” (Photo/Valerie Smith-Malin)

Broadway actor, noted entertainer and Weston resident Jim Naughton emceed the pops concert with wit and grace.

The Westport Police Department Color Guard opened and closed the show.

BONUS FEATURE: Here’s what the Levitt looked like last night, from Brandon Malin’s quadcopter:

Pic Of The Day #49

Hundreds gathered — and hundreds more participated — in today’s 8th annual Push Against Cancer for Kids at the Levitt Pavilion. The event was a fundraiser for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. (Photo/Joey Bairaktaris)

Pic Of The Day #46

Levitt Pavilion stairs (Photo copyright Lynn U. Miller)

Levitt Looks Lovely

The Levitt Pavilion’s summer season opens soon.

In addition to another 50 nights of free entertainment, concert-goers will enjoy enhanced landscaping. (If you’ve wandered outside the library, you’ve seen it already.)

What you may not know is that it’s largely thanks to one man.

Alfredo at work.

The other day, an alert — and appreciative — “06880” reader noticed Alfredo weeding the hill.

“That’s a big job,” she said.

“Yes,” he smiled at her. “I’m lucky I have the work.”

When that was done, he began mulching.

A few more plantings are coming soon.

When the summer series begins, I hope Alfredo will be there — relaxing to both the music and the flowers.

Pops! Goes The Concert

This morning’s post looked back on Friday’s Staples High School choral concert.

But there’s no rest for the music department. They’re already looking ahead.

Free tickets became available a few minutes ago for the 2nd annual Pops Concert at the Levitt Pavilion (Friday, June 9, 7 p.m.). Last year they were snapped up the day of the announcement. They’ll go even quicker this time. (Click here to get yours!)

The sun glinted off the Levitt Pavilion pavilion last year, as the jazz band played.

The event — modeled on the Boston Pops’ Esplanade series — was an instant smash in its debut. This year promises to be even more impressive.

In addition to performances of classical and contemporary music by Staples’ symphonic and chamber orchestras, jazz band and Orphenians, there’s pre-concert music from the Long Lots Elementary School steel drum band, Bedford Middle School jazz ensemble and various Staples chamber groups at 6 p.m.

Food trucks start serving at 5:30.

Once again, the great Jim Naughton will emcee.

Emcee — and Tony Award winner — Jim Naughton took a turn on the triangle.

The Pops Concert is the music department’s 2nd gift to the town. (The Candlelight Concert is the 1st.)

Of course, there are plenty of expenses associated with the townwide music programs. Every orchestra and band instrument must be moved from schools to the Levitt; union set-up costs money too. Donations are gratefully accepted!

The show is a wonderful kickoff for the Levitt season. The al fresco venue is perfect — and the music is even better.

Enjoy the show!

(The Pops Concert is just one of many end-of-school-year music activities. This Friday [May 19] is the Staples Cabaret. The Staples chamber orchestra performs with their Bedford and Coleytown Middle School counterparts on Wednesday, May 24 [Staples, 7 p.m.] The Staples and Bedford Middle School jazz concert is Monday, June 5 [Staples, 7 p.m.] And of course the middle and high school bands march in the Memorial Day parade [Monday, May 29].)

Raise Funds — And Upper-Body Strength — For Kids

Westporters know that every day is different at the Levitt Pavilion.

One night there’s a rock group. The next night, a military band. Then comes a comedian, followed by Klezmer musicians. It’s Ed Sullivan on steroids.

But on Sunday morning, June 4 (10:30 to 11:30), the Levitt stage will be taken over by regular people of all ages.

Doing push-ups.

It’s the 8th annual Push Against Cancer for Kids. Individually and in teams, everyone is invited to bang out as many push-ups as possible.

Last year’s Push Against Cancer drew a wide variety of ages and sizes …

The only catch: You have to be sponsored. Friends, family members, colleagues — all pledge money, based on how many push-ups you can do.

All proceeds go to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the program for children facing severe medical challenges.

An anonymous donor will match all funds raised by everyone under 23 years old (up to $25,000).

… and both genders.

Paul Newman founded the Hole in the Wall Gang camp nearly 30 years ago. This year, Westport-based Newman’s Own Foundation is helping out.

The Westport and Danbury Police Departments are all in too.

Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. A Hole in the Wall Gang camper, now in remission from cancer, will deliver an inspiring speech.

DJ Sean McKee — aka Big Daddy — will motivate the push-up participants. He has a great reason to help: He’s a 2-time cancer survivor.

Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas (5th from left) and his entire force are strong supporters of the Push Against Cancer.

Last year’s event drew over 400 people. They raised $79,000 for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Organizer Andy Berman’s goal this year is $100,000. The cost of a week at the camp is $2,500 — though all services are free to campers and their families. So Berman hopes to raise enough money for 40 kids.

How many push-ups will you contribute to the cause?

To register, or for more information, click here. Questions? Email andy@mentalgritfitness.com 

Photo Challenge #122

Maybe it was the great spring weather. Maybe the photo challenge was too hard. Maybe my cropping of the image threw everyone off.

Whatever the reason, only 3 readers responded to last week’s shot. The good news is all 3 — Andrew Colabella, Joelle Malec and Brandon Malin — got it right.

The photo showed the bottom part of the Levitt Pavilion — everything below the stage. I took it from inside the Westport Arts Center, across the Saugatuck River.

Joelle even knew that the path beneath the pavilion is called the Jeff Shoup Walkway.

Click here to see the shot that either stumped most readers, or that no one cared about.

I think more readers will click “Comments” to identify this week’s challenge.

Then again, what do I know?

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Remembering Chuck Berry

I only saw Chuck Berry perform live once.

It was in 2002, at the Levitt Pavilion’s annual fundraiser.

He was on a double bill with Little Richard.

Neither was very good. Both were well past their sell-by dates.

Chuck Berry — who died yesterday at 90 — was already 75.

Yet looking back, it’s very impressive that he was still performing — and still doing a (modified) version of his famed “duck walk.”

And how cool that I — and the rest of Westport — could see one of the true legends (and founders) of rock ‘n’ roll, right in our back yard.

That’s my only live memory of Chuck Berry.

But this is “06880,” where “Westport meets the world.” Our town is probably filled with people who played or recorded with, went into business with, or otherwise knew Chuck Berry well. (Weston too: I’m thinking of you, Keith Richards.)

Click “Comments” below, to share your memories.

PS: Roll over, Beethoven! And tell Tchaikovsky the news.

Photo Challenge #113

Some photo challenges can be figured out by current Westporters, and those who lived here many years ago. The anchor by Ned Dimes Marina — installed in 1958 — was a great example, 3 weeks ago.

But you need to live here now — or have visited in the past 2 summers — to know last week’s image. John Videler’s shot showed the tile ramp at the “new” Levitt Pavilion, leading down to the lawn. If you’ve never seen it, be sure to stop by next summer — it’s a beauty! (Click here for the photo.)

Congratulations to Eileen Lavigne Flug, Marc Hartog, Cheryl McKenna, Nancy Wilson, Seth Braunstein, Fred Rubin and Seth Goltzer. If there was a prize, you’d get a season’s pass to the Levitt. Oh, wait — it’s free for everyone!

Today’s photo challenge was inspired by tonight’s Academy Awards. Here’s a hint:  It has nothing to do with the Oscars.

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

If you think you know where in Westport you’d find this beauty, click “Comments” below. Winners won’t get a prize that looks anything like this.

They’ll get something better: Their name on “06880,” next Sunday.