Craig Gall, the Kenosha Pops Concert Band conductor, hopes every Pops concert is entertaining.
But he’s banking on tonight’s program being especially fun.
And it should be, with the theme of “The Sound and the Joy of Music.”
The band will be playing what Gall calls “a concert of humorous novelty songs and comic pieces.”
This theme was inspired, he said, “by the joy music brings everyone — especially when played by the Kenosha Pops Band.”
Audience members will be asked to join in on the fun during two sing-alongs with Greg Berg, the band’s master of ceremonies.
The first sing-along is a medley of Tin Pan Alley favorites “Carolina in the Morning,” “Side by Side,” “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” and “Pretty Baby.”
The second sing-along features the waltzes “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now,” “Girl of My Dreams,” “My Buddy” and “The Whiffenpoof Song,” the theme song of the Yale Whiffenpoofs a cappella group.
Established at Yale University in 1909, its former members include Cole Porter. The group’s signature song has been recorded several times, including by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Count Basie and the Statler Brothers. It’s also heard on the soundtrack of more than 20 films.
Berg is also the vocalist on Jerome Kern’s “The Song Is You.”
“That’s a rare bird,” Gall said of the 1932 tune. “Not many bands have this in their library. Robert Russell Bennett did a wonderful arrangement of this piece.”
Spike Jones silliness
From a Kern classic, the band “goes right to the ridiculous,” said Frank Germinaro, the band’s assistant conductor, talking about “A Salute to Spike Jones.” The medley of tunes made famous by the 1950s satirical bandleader includes “Cocktails for Two,” “Chloe” and “Poet and Peasant Overture.”
Car horns, ringing phones, champagne toasts and other special effects make up what Gall calls “a dazzling display of percussion artistry,” featuring Gall and Cara Russo.
Germinaro also leads the band on the very classy David Rose classic “The Stripper” (though he promises to keep his clothes on) and Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk.” The catchy song has outlasted the movie it was written for, 1962’s “Hatari!”
Even John Philip Sousa gets into the goofy spirit of tonight’s program with “The Roosters Lay Eggs in Kansas,” a tune unofficially known as Sousa’s favorite encore. It features vocals by band members and several soloists.
Other joyful tunes include:
“Hey, Look Me Over,” from the 1960 Broadway musical “Wildcat.” It was sung by Lucille Ball in her only Broadway appearance and has a special meaning to Gall. “The Port Washington City Band played this for parades,” he said of his hometown. “It brings back childhood memories for me.”
A medley of tunes from the 1965 film “The Great Race” starring Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood.
Leroy Anderson’s “The Waltzing Cat,” which Gall calls “a great tune we don’t hear often enough.”
The Spanish serenade “La Paloma” by Sebastian Yradier, a new piece for the Pops.
The “Jolly Crowd Polka,” which Gall dedicates to “our faithful, jolly audience.”
And the disco era hit “YMCA,” which will feature the K-Pop Dancers and mandatory audience participation.
The ‘Sound’ celebration
Now for the “Sound” portion of the “Sound and the Joy of Music” theme: The Pops will perform a medley of songs from “The Sound of Music” in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical’s Broadway debut.
Familiar songs from the musical include “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi” and the title song.
Another celebration takes place this weekend in Milwaukee. German Fest starts Friday, and Gall is performing there as part of the Dorf Kapelle band. (12:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday on the Oktoberfest Stage).
To celebrate, the Pops will play “In Munchen Steht Ein Hofbrauhaus,” which Gall calls “the most famous waltz to come out of Bavaria.” (Dancing is, as always, encouraged.)