By Ted AYALA
If the Glendale Pops’ performance at the Alex Theatre last Saturday night proved anything, it was that you can’t keep a good band down.
The ensemble’s fans may find themselves regretting that due to renovations done on the Alex in the past few months, that the Pops was forced to trim its season from five concerts down to three. But those same fans can find consolation in that the Pops’ musicianship and brilliance gleams as bright as ever.
Helping to polish the musical gem to a high chrome finish is the multi-talented and always engaging Matt Catingub, Pops music director.
Not content with merely leading the orchestra with aplomb, Catingub also cuts a stylish turn on the piano and on vocals. His gruffly tender vocalism and warm pianism were especially effective in his rapt cover of Erroll Garner’s standard “Misty.”
But it’s his arrangements – cool and playful at once – that really allow the Pops to shine.
The veritable trombonist’s holiday that was his arrangement of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” splendidly showcased the range and expressiveness of trombonists featured.
As often on these Pops concerts, Catingub and the gang were joined in the second half by a special guest. In this case, singer-songwriter Carol Welsman joined the proceedings, her voice adding further luster to an already memorable concert.
The Pops billed the concert as their “Hidden Treasures” concert, though the virtues of the orchestra are laying about in plain sight.
For those who missed this second concert of the Pops season, there is still one more chance to hear the Pops when Martin Short joins the orchestra for its season finale June 21.