The National Arts Centre Orchestra playing the Cole Porter songbook is the very definition of a Pops concert. Hearing such skilled musical technicians trained so well in the classics pull their bows over one of Tin Pan Alley’s greatest heroes is precisely the sort of thing that will pull a different crowd out for a night of quasi-serious music, which I suspect is exactly the point of the NAC’s annual Pops series.
I am fortunate to hear plenty of standard classical material when filling my role of “script assistant*” for the NAC’s Family Adventures concert series so when it’s time for me to take advantage of one of my cherished job perks I usually (but not always) request free tickets to the non-classical stuff.
And so it was that on February 15th, 2008 I took my seat (and a great seat it was too, dead-centre and just eight rows back) and enjoyed a perfect vantage point to watch the guest conductor (I believe it was the ever-effervescent Jack Everly) pull songs like I Get A Kick Out Of You, In The Still Of The Night, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, What Is This Thing Called Love?, Love For Sale, and Night And Day out of Canada’s most skilled orchestra and a quartet or so of guest vocalists.
I suppose the fact that it was essentially a Valentine’s Day show didn’t hurt the atmosphere any.
Another great perk of these shows is the near proximity of my house to the National Arts Centre, making it just a short stroll along the (in this case, frozen) Rideau Canal to get home after the concert. Heck, there’s even a chance that I skated to the show; I do it often and there’s nothing better.
*I don’t assist with any scripts whatsoever, though that’s remained my job title for almost twenty years now. I work with the video crew.