Performances in this summer’s “Evenings Under the Stars” series at the South Shore Conservatory range from a jazz band celebrating its 50th anniversary and its first recording to a showcase for a new generation of rising stars from Berklee College of Music.
“The most current news is, of course, Bo Winiker Orchestra’s news of their 50th, and the brand new Berklee Stars,” said publicist Michelle McGrath.
Appearing for the first time in the outdoor music series, the Bo Winiker Orchestra will perform on July 21, the third of four Saturday-night concerts in the Jane Carr Amphitheater on the conservatory’s Hingham campus. The eight-member band will offer an evening of popular music ranging from Tin Pan Alley and the early decades of the 20th century, when jazz was king, to Broadway and film music highlights drawn from the ensemble’s repertoire of 15,000 songs.
Taught by their father, Ed, who started the band 50 years ago, sons Bo and Bill Winiker have kept the Winiker band going ever since. While this summer‘s show will be their first date for “Under the Stars,” the band is hardly unknown.
“They’ve played everywhere. They played at a presidential inauguration,” said Beth MacLeod Largent, the conservatory’s director of performance.
The young and unknown will be featured on Friday evenings through a new partnership with Berklee.
“We cranked it up this year,” Largent said. “This connection with Berklee is a major step for us.”
An audience survey told the conservatory’s concert planners that its patrons wanted more jazz and contemporary music, she said. The Berklee Stars are undergraduates, ages 20 and 21, but some have already recorded their first albums — you can’t get more contemporary than that.
The Stars originated as an offshoot of the college’s wide-ranging series “Berklee Presents,” which showcases students at prominent events, such as the Newport Folk Festival, throughout the country.
The performers learn from their live performances while local audiences get low-cost live music. Tickets for the conservatory shows are $10.
“You can sit in the pavilion or in the open on the grass and bring your dinner. The bar is open,” Largent said.
The conservatory’s setting provides a learning opportunity for the Stars because outdoor theater venues are rare, said Largent, whose husband, Berklee professor Jeff Largent, will provide sound engineering assistance for the concerts.
The Berklee Stars lineup is: Soul of a Man on July 6; Cameron Gilpin on July 13; Amelia Ali on July 27; and Joanna Teters on Aug. 3. The concerts will be broadcast live on WATD from a mobile studio.
“We’re hoping the name Berklee will cause people to prick up their ears and pay attention,” Largent said.
There’s also a lot to listen to on Saturday nights, the original setting for “Evenings Under the Stars.” In recent years, it added Friday nights featuring young performers, and a lineup of family-oriented performers on weekday mornings.
The Festival Orchestra, conducted by Hingham native Nicholas Palmer, leads off this summer’s offerings July 7 with a program ranging from classical music used in films, such as “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss (in “2001: A Space Odyssey” and other movies), to contemporary film music by composers such as John Williams. Featured music is drawn from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and the James Bond movies.
An audience favorite, the rhythm and blues band Soul Kitchen grooves to tunes popularized by legendary artists from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Otis Redding, and Ray Charles, on July 14. Dancing, the band’s fans say, is inevitable.
Opera lovers will have their night on July 28, when a resident conservatory ensemble, Opera by the Bay, performs greatest hits from some of the genre’s most popular works. “The audience loves to hear these,” Largent said. “They know them. They love them.”
Included is music from “Carmen,” “La Boheme,” “La Traviata,” and “Rigoletto,” plus what McGrath calls “the glorious men’s duet from “The Pearl Fishers” and the equally stirring “Flower Duet” for female voices from “Lakme.” The concert will peak with songs from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”
The conservatory’s summer schedule also includes four family-friendly performances on Wednesday mornings.
Starting off the series will be Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys on July 11, followed by an intergenerational sing-along with Jennie Mulqueen, a conservatory faculty member who presents Julie Andrews songs, on July 18; musical storyteller Debbie and Friends on July 25; and puppeteer Dan Butterworth on Aug. 1.
Behind the Scenes
“Evenings Under the Stars “
South Shore Conservatory
1 Conservatory Drive, Hingham
Festival Orchestra, July 7, 7 p.m.
$35 pavilion; $20 lawn
www.sscmusic.org; 781-749-7565, ext. 22