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Blue Hill
Originally published in Compass, June 21, 2012
Annual Blue Hill Pops concert set for July 3

Celebrated jazz harpist Liza Rey

Celebrated jazz harpist Liza Rey will be among the performers featured at this year's Blue Hill Pops concert on July 3 at George Stevens Academy.

Celebrate Independence Day at the 22nd annual Blue Hill Pops Concert and kickoff the summer season with the popular program featuring an all-star lineup of area musicians. Sponsored by the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, the Blue Hill Pops Concert will be held on Tuesday, July 3, at 7:30 in the George Stevens Academy gymnasium on Union Street. Corporate sponsors for the concert are Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Cape Air and Stanley Subaru.

This year’s musical festival of “Sounds Around Blue Hill” features the celebrated jazz harpist Liza Rey, Flash! In the Pan Steel Band, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Maine, the New Trad Trio, and the Bagaduce Pops Singers, under the direction of Bronwyn Kortge. In addition, the Pops concert will feature young Maine composer John O’Hara of Westbrook, performing several of his original ragtime piano compositions.

Jazz harpist Liza Rey has spent much of her life in the music business. As a teenager in the 1960s, she sang and danced on the popular ABC TV show The King Family with her mother, who was one of the King Sisters. Her father, Alvino Rey, was a well-known jazz guitarist and bandleader.

Flash! In the Pans steel band was born in 1990, when Carl Chase put an ad in the local paper inviting people to come to an adult education class in Blue Hill to learn to play the steel drum. Since then Flash! has grown to become one of the largest community-based steel bands in the country. The band’s members range in age from teens to over seventy, and their repertoire includes an eclectic mix of traditional calypso, pop, swing, blues and classical pieces.

This past February, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine celebrated 35 consecutive years of live performances. Elizabeth “Betty” Beatty and Harris Strong founded the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Hancock County in 1976, and since then, the organization has performed nearly every G&S operetta. For the Blue Hill Pops Concert, singers Roland Dube, Deborah Hangge, Emma Kell, Karen Pendelton, Sarah Schneider, Ellenore Tarr, Fran Vogt and Jason Wilkes will be performing a short segment from Musicale. They will be accompanied by pianist Mary Cheyney Gould.

The Bagaduce Pops Singers, under the direction of Bronwyn Kortge, are former and current members of the Bagaduce Chorale, which was founded in 1974 by Mary Cheyney Gould. This year the Pops Singers will perform a medley of Stephen Sondeim songs, in honor of the 50th anniversary of his Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the 25th anniversary of Into the Woods. The Pops Singers will be accompanied by Karen Dickes on piano and Lynette Woods on drums.

The New Trad Trio, with Jack Moser on clarinet, Chris Harris on banjo and vocals and Don Knowles on bass, will have the Pops audience stamping its feet and remembering the sounds of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. All three musicians reside in Hancock County, but are well-known in the jazz world outside of Maine.

Blue Hill Pops will conclude with a patriotic finale featuring an audience sing-along of our nation’s service songs and America the Beautiful. Table seats, reserved chairs and bleacher seats are available in a range of prices. To purchase tickets, call 374-5454 or stop by the Bagaduce Music Lending Library on Greene’s Hill in Blue Hill.