Summer Pops returning to SouthPark

by Sarah Gilbert

The Charlotte Symphony will present the Summer Pops concert series this summer at Symphony Park. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Symphony

A south Charlotte tradition returns to Symphony Park this summer with the Charlotte Symphony’s Summer Pops concert series.

This year’s set of five performances kick off June 10 with a concert by the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra at SouthPark Mall’s Symphony Park.

“We’re excited about seeing our Summer Pops regulars, meeting new faces and enjoying some great repertoire in the relaxed Symphony Park setting,” Eva Lewis, the symphony’s public relations and digital media coordinator, said. “Summer Pops is just as much a tradition for us as it is for the audience – I remember attending these shows as a kid.”

The remaining concerts are set for June 17 and 24, and July 1 and 3, with Albert-George Schram leading most of the performances and Jacomo Rafael Bairos at the helm June 17.

“People can expect the same conductor, the hilarious Albert-George Schram,” Lewis said. “This is George’s 11th Summer Pops season and we’re always so excited to have him. He brings a contagious energy to the stage and always gets the audience involved. We’ve also got our associate conductor, Jacomo Rafael Bairos, leading one of the shows. Jacomo conducts a wide variety of our concerts and it’ll be fun to have him on the Symphony Park stage.”

Each performance also will feature a prelude act, which are still in the works. And the July 3 performance, titled “Celebrate America!,” will offer a family-friendly way to celebrate Independence Day.

“July 4th is always a patriotic show, with a huge fireworks display at the end of the show,” Lewis said. “Get ready for feel-good, traditional American standards that will have you on your feet and proud of your country.”

Last year’s Summer Pops season drew 2,000 to 3,500 people to every concert, giving crowds the chance to experience the symphony performances for a discounted price.

“This is the perfect chance to sample the symphony in an informal, outdoor setting,” Lewis said. “People bring their kids, it’s incredibly family-friendly, food and wine abound and you see these fabulous picnic displays. There’s no dress code, you can bring your choice of refreshment and kids are free. What’s not to love? It’s a Charlotte summer tradition – just ask the thousands of audience members that have become repeat Summer Pops attendees over the years.”

The orchestra has presented a Summer Pops series annually since 1983. The concerts moved to SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road, in 1994 and to the mall’s Symphony Park when it was completed in 2002.

“I think that Summer Pops is so special because it represents so much of the classic American summer,” Lewis said. “Summer Pops means families together enjoying music, long evenings and southern summer. There’s food, fireworks and so much fun.”

The 2012 season marks the second season that tickets will be required for admission. Single tickets are available for $10, with passes valid for all five concerts on sale for $35. Children under 18 are free. Ticket sales will begin at each concert at 4 p.m. The gates will open at 5 p.m., prelude acts begin at 7 and the symphony will take the stage at 8:15.

Find more information about the Summer Pops concert series at www.charlotte To purchase advance tickets, visit or call 704-972-2000 beginning April 1.

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