Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Symphony Tuning Up for Mom

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Symphony Tuning Up for Mom

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Faulkner, Shorelines correspondent

Last year, Michael Butterman gave his mother-in-law a Mother's Day gift any mom would envy.

As associate conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Butterman led his Pops musicians through their annual Mother's Day performance in Jacksonville Beach. During the concert, he turned over his podium and baton to her.

"It was a thrill for her; she had never conducted an orchestra, as most people have not," Butterman said. "Also, we didn't really expect this, but there was a big screen above the stage that was projecting the orchestra's view of the conductor. She was up there conducting, and her face was projected in an 8-foot-tall image above the stage.

"I would have found it pretty intimidating. She was either numb and didn't realize it or she was that poised. I'm not sure which."

On Sunday, the orchestra will return to Jacksonville Beach to serenade mothers and other music fans with a program of classical pops and pop music. It's a variety of musical styles, by Butterman's design.

The design calls for a first half of light classical pieces used in famous films. It includes works such as Strauss's On the Beautiful Blue Danube, used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Mascagni's Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, heard in Raging Bull and Trading Places.

The program's second half features pop hits from the 1960s and '70s -- the Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Jimmy Webb's MacArthur Park and medleys paying tribute to Harry Mancini and the themes from the James Bond films -- arranged for the 60-member orchestra.

"We know that crowd is usually a real mixed bag of ages and musical experience," Butterman said. "We try to do things that will hit everybody's tastes, at least from time to time. It's a very varied program."

This program will be the first time the symphony performs at the new SeaWalk Pavilion. …

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