BY JON CRONIN
The West Side Tennis Stadium in Forest Hills has seen a wide variety of musical acts perform in the arena, from The Who to D’Angelo.
Now it will welcome the classical genre.
“We feel privileged,” Roland Meier, president of the West End Tennis Club and proprietor of the stadium said, “to have The New York Pops play here.”
“Could you believe Jimi Hendrix was booed off stage here?”, because “they wanted to see The Monkees.”
Deborah Dillingham, a Forest Hills resident and Queens’ representative on the city Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy, coordinated with the Pops to have them play at the stadium.
Anne Swanson, executive director of the New York Pops, said they had been looking all over the city for a good forum to perform in during summer season and were pleased to have found their new summer home in Forest Hills.
Sutton Foster, an award-winning actor, singer and dancer, will perform with the Pops this summer. Foster has performed in 11 Broadway shows, currently acting on the TV series Younger, recently released her solo cd and teaches in the Theatre and Dance Department at Ball State University in Indiana.
They will also be welcoming the “Little Orchestra” Pink Martini, who originated in Oregon to provide musical soundtracks to political fundraisers, and has had much success in Europe and all around the world. They consistently sell-out their Carnegie Hall concerts and were recently inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
The pops will be performing at the stadium on Thursday, August 6 with Foster and on Friday, August 7 with Pink Martini.
“The Pops and I are excited to be here,” Steven Reineke, musical director and conductor for the New York Pops said. As a former Midwesterner with plenty of outdoor arenas to choose from, he is especially happy to be conducting in an outside stadium again. “I tend to dance a lot at the podium and now the audience has the chance to dance along with me.” Reineke said.
Reineke is looking forward to performing with Foster and especially Pink Martini. Their concerts, he said, “Are typically a huge party. It can be like a Who concert.”
Reineke added that this year there will be only two concerts but in the future he hopes to perform as many as 10.
Dillingham is also a strong supporter of the Kids in the Balcony, a program that gives 100 free Pops tickets a year to economically disadvantaged students.
“People come from all over the world to sit where you are,” Dillingham told students in the program.
Dillingham was pleased to announce that at Forest Hills Stadium they will expand their program to 1000 tickets per season. “I wish I could throw my papers in the air,” she exclaimed.
Swanson said, “We’re thrilled to be expanding our educational programs.”
Patricia Cooper, principal of Forest Hills’ PS 175 said, “This is wonderful. The news will go in every report card.”
PS 175 recently had a visit from the educational department of the New York Pops where one of their teaching artists, Kevin Weinbold, instructed the Kindergarten classes before their spring concert.