This September will mark the 13th time that The Philly Pops have come to Mercer County for a concert to benefit The Foundation of Morris Hall/St. Lawrence, Inc., but that’s not the only reason the event will have a homecoming feel.
This year, The Philly Pops, led by new conductor and music director, Michael Krajewski, are set to perform with The Midtown Men, a vocal group whose members, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, were on the original cast of the Broadway show, Jersey Boys.
This year’s concert, “Sixties Hits,” is scheduled to take place on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton.
“I truly believe that we are going to be bringing you the best program yet of all of these wonderful programs that you’ve had in the past,” Krajewski said.
One of the event’s chairs, Mercer County Freeholder Pat Colavita, made reference to the New Jersey connection when introducing the musicians at a press conference held on May 16 to announce the concert.
“You are in central New Jersey right now, and we are tremendous fans of Doo Wop and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. So, you are coming home in many, many respects,” Colavita said.
The benefit concert is slated to feature selections of popular music from the 1960s, including songs by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, as well as hits from Motown, The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
“The opportunity to hear those songs performed by The Midtown Men, who are fantastic at recreating the songs of Frankie Valli and recreating songs of the ’60s, then, you add to that The Philly Pops, and it becomes just this very dynamic force on stage,” Krajewski said following the press conference. “The program is just filled with energy and happiness.”
The Foundation of Morris Hall/St. Lawrence, Inc., includes St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, a fully accredited non-profit physical rehabilitation hospital with 166 beds. It also includes St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Grace Garden Memory Care and St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center at Morris Hall. Funds raised from the concert will benefit the facility’s patients and residents.
Local students will also benefit from the event. The Philly Pops Brass Quintet is once again planning to visit three local schools in September. The schools selected this year are Lawrence High School, Trenton Catholic Academy and Bordentown High School. Each of the schools will also receive an allotment of tickets for students to attend the concert, and one student will be chosen to serve as a guest conductor for the performance of the theme song from Rocky. Approximately 250 tickets are distributed to local children each year, Colavita said.
At the conclusion of the press conference, The Midtown Men performed a trio of popular songs from the 1960s, while engaging the audience with their humor, harmony and enthusiasm.
Krajewski said the “Sixties Hits” program is the type of show that immerses an audience.
“When I’m on the stage looking out at a sea of faces as these guys are performing, all I see are broad smiles, heads nodding to the music, toes tapping and people having the time of their life,” he said. “And when you add the dynamic and the electrifying performance of The Midtown Men to the finest pops orchestra in the country, you’ve got yourself quite a show, and that’s what we’ll be bringing you here in September, and we can’t wait.”
Tickets for the concert are available for purchase by phone at (215) 893-1999 or online at ticketphiladelphia.org. Ticket prices range from $35-$90.
For information about patron tickets, which include a champagne reception with the performers, contact Jane Millner at (609) 896-9500, ext. 2215 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.