Summer Pops: new name, new stars

Seth MacFarlane, Diana Ross and Trace Adkins are among the artists who will perform at Bayside Summer Nights, the San Diego Symphony’s newly christened Summer Pops concert series at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

Fresh additions to the lineup include country star Trace Adkins, new jazz phenom Cecile McLorin Salvant and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Martha Gilmer, the symphony’s CEO since October 2014, is keeping the Summer Pops formula, but with different genres mixed in with the tried and true.

“We are transitioning to the name ‘Bayside Summer Nights,’ because we want to emphasize this location as a destination,” Gilmer said. “We can’t think of another summer festival that has the beauty of city and water. The new name is evocative of the whole experience. But, to many people, it will always be the Summer Pops, and that’s fine, too.”

Bayside Summer Nights | Summer Pops 2016

When: All concerts at 7:30 p.m., except for July 30, Aug. 19 and Aug. 28, which begin at 8 p.m.

Where: All concerts at the Embarcadero Marina Park South (behind the convention center downtown).

Tickets: Single tickets from $16 to $81; variety of ticket packages available

Phone: (619) 235-0804


The series remains at Embarcadero Marina Park South. Gilmer said the symphony is having discussions with the Unified Port of San Diego about the building of a permanent amphitheater in that spot.

“We’re in the process of working with the port for a long-term lease,” she said. “There’s excitement about the new venue.”

Of the 27 Summer Nights concerts, the new names are featured alongside standard Summer Pops fare, such as evenings devoted to The Beatles, Broadway favorites, and a live performance of the film score of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“These are staples of our summer program,” Gilmer said. “We want to assure our longtime audience that the pillars of the season are still there. We are adding new opportunities. Our goals are to expand our audience and to expand the experience for our regular audiences.”

The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights/Summer Pops season starts and ends in ways similar to years past. The rousing “Star Spangled Pops,” from July 1-3, will celebrate Independence Day Weekend; the symphony will present the aural and visual fireworks of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” from Sept. 2-4.

Here’s a sampling of the familiar and not-so-familiar concerts in between.

Diana Ross, July 17

The last time this beloved pop diva graced a San Diego stage was in 2011 at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. (The San Diego Symphony does not appear on this program.)

Trace Adkins, July 29

Among Adkins’ hits are "(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” He performs on the Bayside stage, as do two other country acts, local Johnny Cash tribute band Cash’d Out (July 4) and Amy Grant (Aug. 20). (The San Diego Symphony does not appear on this program.)

Hooray for Hollywood, July 30

This popular format returns, with film clips on the big screen complementing famous movie songs and themes, played by the symphony.

The Future of Jazz, featuring Cecile McLorin Salvant, Aug. 18

Grammy-nominated for her album “For One to Love,” Salvant is one of the most celebrated young vocalists in jazz. Opening the program is the International Academy of Jazz-San Diego, composed of musicians from 10 to 20 years old, guided by local jazz luminaries. (The San Diego Symphony does not appear on this program.)

Seth MacFarlane and the Great American Songbook, Aug. 12-13

MacFarlane may be better known for creating “The Family Guy” and “Ted,” but the comedian can also croon tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz greats.

Viva Mariachi, Aug. 21

Founded in Jalisco, Mexico, in 1898, the internationally renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán brings its authenticity and energy to the Bayside. The opener is locally based Mariachi Champaña Nevin.

Jazz Guitar Masters, Aug. 25

It’s hard to think of a more exciting lineup of guitarists than Russell Malone, Anthony Wilson and San Diego’s own Peter Sprague. (The San Diego Symphony does not appear on this program.)

Bernadette Peters, Aug. 26, 27

Accompanied by the symphony, the winner of multiple Tony Awards puts her signature style on Broadway numbers. She currently stars in Amazon’s Golden Globe-winning series “Mozart in the Jungle.”

For more details and the full lineup, go to

Wood is a freelance writer.

Source: DiscoverSD