Rochester, NY – On May 9, 1970, a magical musical moment propelled Rochester’s Chuck Mangione into the national spotlight. “Friends & Love,” a full symphonic Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert featuring conductor/composer/flugelhornist Mangione with a group of six superbly accomplished soloists took the stage at the Eastman Theatre and proceeded to make history. At the final RPO WPOP concert of the season on Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 27 at 7 p.m. at the Eastman Theatre, “Friends & Love: A Chuck Mangione Concert featuring Don Potter,” the major performers will be reunited to re-create that legendary concert. (Click here for individual performer biographies.)
“I find it hard to believe it’s been 37 years since I conducted the RPO in the premier performance of ‘Friends & Love’ at the Eastman Theatre,” notes Mangione. “The music still gives me goose bumps. It’s a thrill to have so many of the ‘original cast’ involved.”
The immense talents of Don Potter, guitar and vocals; Steve Gadd, drums; Tony Levin, electric bass; Bat McGrath, guitar; Gap Mangione, electric piano; Gerry Niewood, saxophone and flute; and Lew Soloff, trumpet bring back the music that led to a recording contract with Mercury Records and a Grammy nomination. “Friends & Love” was one of the very first concerts to bring so many different genres into one program.
Performed in a studio setting style on the Eastman Theatre stage with upstage lighting, the concert’s first half features music composed by Mangione, which includes Hill Where The Lord Hides (Gerry Niewood, soloist), Feel of a Vision (Lew Soloff, soloist), Echano, Bellavia and And In the Beginning (Gap Mangione, soloist). The second half of the concert will be performed in its entirety without a break, with Friends & Love Theme, Someone Take Me Home, Get Yourself on a Farm Elinda, She’s Gone, Joropo Piropo and Friends & Love Finale, all written by Chuck Mangione, Bat McGrath, Don Potter and Stanley Watson.
Directly following intermission at the Sunday, May 27th concert, Chuck Mangione will receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the Eastman School of Music. Interim Dean Jamal Rossi will present the award, which is given to alumni who embody the essence of the Eastman experience by demonstrating exceptional musicianship, scholarship and leadership in the arts.
Tickets for these performances are $20-$56, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, as well as at any Wegmans locations. Currently, there are only a limited number of tickets left for the Friday and Saturday performances. RPO Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Wegmans is open seven days a week. A convenience fee may apply. The WPOP Series is sponsored by Wegmans; this concert is sponsored by Xerox, with additional support provided by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Chuck Mangione’s appearance is sponsored by the Harold and July Samloff Family Fund.
Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music. The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community. The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.
RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.
Note to media: The “Friends & Love” dress rehearsal on Friday May 25 from 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon will be open for media photography, TV and radio; interviews may be available with advance notice. Digital color photos of the performers and a color image of the original album cover are available.