Valentine’s Day with Patti LaBelle and the Nashville Symphony

“Where my background singers, whoo?!”

The viral video of Patti LaBelle finding a way to make her live performance work at the 1996 National Tree Lighting amidst a series of unfortunate circumstances is proof of her true spirit. The “Godmother of Soul” has enjoyed one of the longest careers in contemporary music, singing girl group pop and gutsy soul to space-age funk and hard-hitting disco.

LaBelle (center) with her Labelle bandmates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash (1974)

LaBelle will be accompanied by the Nashville Symphony under the baton of Enrico Lopez-Yañez for three performances – February 8-10 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Schermerhorn Symphony Center. These concerts are the fourth offering of the First Bank Pops Series, with three engagements still forthcoming this artistic season: Music of Elvis with Frankie Moreno (March 21-23), Amos Lee (May 9-11), and Titus Burgess (June 13-15).

Serving as Principal Pops Conductor of the Nashville Symphony, Enrico Lopez-Yañez serves in the same capacity with the Pacific Symphony, as well as being the Principal Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Presents. Lopez-Yañez is quickly establishing himself as one of the Nation’s leading conductors of popular music, becoming known for both his unique style of audience engagement and as an active composer/arranger. In a post written for Everything Conducting, an online blog described as an inclusive place for conductors to learn, share, and advance [the] craft, Maestro Lopez-Yañez draws on his experience with concerts such as those upcoming with Patti LaBelle. To learn about many of the things with which Lopez-Yañez will be contending and how he prepares for the First Bank Pops Series, reference his post, “Working with Guest Artists on Pops.”

Enrico Lopez-Yañez (Photo: Dokk Savage)


Musicians in the Nashville Symphony are also appreciative of the First Bank Pops Series. In a recent profile done with Music City Review contributor Carly Brown, Concertmaster Peter Otto shared that, “One of the things I love about the Nashville Symphony is that the programming is so diverse . . . so many different avenues [are] explored.” The thoughtfully curated First Bank Pops Series is obviously one of these such avenues. Officially beginning his tenure as the new concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony earlier this month, Otto brings a wealth of experience to Middle Tennessee, most recently from the Cleveland Orchestra. Learn more about Peter Otto and his approach to making music from Brown’s interview: “The MCR Interview: Peter Otto, the New Concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony.”

Opened in 2006, Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a magical space in which to experience live music – classical, popular, whatever the genre. Even though the venue is mere steps from the honky-tonks of Broadway, Laura Turner Concert Hall is insulated from exterior noise and prevents transmission of sound waves in or out of the structure. The New Classical architecture puts one in a much closer proximity to cultural giants, like Ms. Patti LaBelle, than does Nissan Stadium or Bridgestone Arena. And, one can do so for a fraction of the price.

Treat yourself or treat a date to hit songs spanning decades. For tickets and more information about upcoming performances with Patti LaBelle visit the Nashville Symphony’s website.

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