American singing icon Paul Anka will kick off UMW’s new Philharmonic Orchestra Season this fall. A Star Trek celeb, travel guru and violin virtuoso will round out the star-studded lineup. The series will run October through April in Dodd Auditorium.
Anka, known for such chart-topping hits as Puppy Love and Put Your Head on My Shoulder, will take the stage during the season’s first show, the Celebrity Series Concert on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Canadian-born singer-songwriter enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame both in music and as a heartthrob in the late 1950s, with concerts that sent teenage girls swooning. He went on to pen the theme song for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and hits for other top artists, including My Way for Frank Sinatra and She’s a Lady for Tom Jones. At UMW, Anka – the only artist to have had a record on Billboard’s Top 50 for seven consecutive decades – will perform his show, “Celebrating 60 Years of Hits – His Way.”
The season continues with the Holiday Pops concert on Friday, Dec. 7, featuring guidebook author and TV host Rick Steves, an authority on European travel. The Philharmonic will lace music from several European countries into its annual yuletide performance, with Steves leading the audience on a personalized tour with video clips produced specifically for this particular show. The concert also will pay tribute to Silent Night with a segment celebrating the 200th anniversary of the beloved carol.
The orchestra will travel to the “final frontier” on Saturday, March 23, with its performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Director, author and activist George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series, will narrate. The season finale on Friday, April 26, will feature Respighi’s The Pines of Rome andVivaldi’s The Four Seasons, with legendary violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Called one of the more extraordinary solo violinists of the past 30 years, she now leads and teaches university orchestras in chamber settings.
“I couldn’t be more excited to share the news about next season,” said Philharmonic Orchestra Director Kevin Bartram. “Not only do we host four legends, we spotlight this great orchestra with great music.”
Now in its 48th year, the Philharmonic consists of both UMW students and members of the Fredericksburg community. The group attracts top talent to the region, including last season’s lineup of opera singer Renée Fleming, The Irish Tenors, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and actor Henry Winkler.
Tickets for the Celebrity Concert Series show with Paul Anka go on sale on Aug. 20 for Friends and donors, and on Aug. 27 for the general public. Contact the Philharmonic office at 540-654-1324 with questions or for a season brochure.