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A full summer classical season

  • Violinist Sarah Chang will perform during the 10-day Festival del SolĂ© in Napa Valley

When conductor Michael Berkowitz leads the Santa Rosa Symphony Pops orchestra in concert July 4 at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center, it'll be a special occasion for a many reasons.

The concert marks the return of the traditional Independence Day pops concert and fireworks show, originally presented on the Rohnert Park campus from 2000 to 2007. And it opens the Green Music Center's first summer concert series.

The concert also kicks off the classical-music summer season, which includes the Mendocino Music Festival, Midsummer Mozart concerts in Sonoma and two Napa Valley concert series — Festival del Solé and Music in the Vineyards.

And for Berkowitz, who will start his ninth season with Santa Rosa Symphony Pops this fall at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, the July 4 show will be his first performance at the Green Music Center.

The conductor is confident a good time will be had by all.

“On a Fourth of July program, you start with some patriotic music, like 'America the Beautiful' and 'God Bless America,' and we're doing an armed forces tribute,” Berkowitz said.

“We're also playing some classic Broadway music, and some swing,” he added. “We have two great singers, Doug LaBrecque and Lisa Vroman, who both did 'Phantom of the Opera' for years. We're going to do 'Sing, Sing, Sing,' and I'll play a drum solo on that.”

As if the program weren't varied enough already, Berkowitz is also throwing in some movie music: the main theme from “Back to the Future.”

“Then, on top of that, there's fireworks,” Berkowitz said. “You can't beat that.”

The show, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., costs $25-$45 for outdoor seating and $45-$85 for indoor seating.

The Green Music Center's 1,400-seat Weill Hall will open its back wall during its summer series, for an additional 6,000 patrons to picnic on the lawn and at tables.

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