Rhapsody in Brew

Orchestra pays tribute to Gershwin, premium beer.

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Blossom Festival Band conductor Loras John Schissel doesn’t get many opportunities to blow some jazz. “[I’m a] tuba player,” he sighs. Which is why he welcomes tonight’s Blossom Festival Orchestra program, Celebrating George and Ira Gershwin: An American in Paris. The songwriting siblings (George composed the tunes; Ira penned the words) bridged the gap between classical and jazz in films and on Broadway during their 1920s and ’30s heyday. “People have probably heard Gershwin even before they knew it was Gershwin,” says Schissel. “If they’ve heard that United Airlines commercial [which uses their “Rhapsody in Blue”], they’ve heard Gershwin.”

Tonight’s program also features Helen Welch, who’ll sing some of the brothers’ standards. Plus, several rarely heard Gershwin compositions are on tap -- like the “other Rhapsody,” better known as “New York Rhapsody.” “It’s a fantastic piece that evokes the big city,” says Schissel, who went back and tweaked the score to undo some changes that were made over the years. “I’m going over the ‘fixes’ made by other composers, so you can hear Gershwin as close to what Gershwin originally wrote.” The orchestra is also holding a preconcert beer tasting starting at 5:30 p.m. For $15, participants receive five samples, snacks, a commemorative glass, and a slight buzz to go with all that Gershwin.
Sat., July 28, 8 p.m.

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