Swing into 2020 with “Sinatra & Friends”

December 2019

Don’t miss the party of the year! Join the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Janna Hymes, as they welcome back special guest artist Steve Lippia to The Center for the Performing Arts for “Sinatra & Friends” on January 11, 2020.

Lippia, a Grammy-nominated recording artist, has become one of the most prominent, in-demand vocalists in America, known for his youthful, energetic interpretations of “standards” and traditional pop music. You will enjoy a wide variety of songs Ol’ Blue Eyes and his friends performed in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and beyond. You are invited to come to the concert dressed in period attire! Sinatra’s show-business career spanned 50-plus years, so the sky’s the limit.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Hymes and Lippia graciously took time to share with us what people can expect from this special event and why it will be appealing to people of all ages and not just classical music aficionados.

“The [Carmel Symphony] Orchestra is versatile,” Hymes said. “The orchestra exists to play music that is for everybody, and while we get a certain audience that comes out and supports our classical concerts—we receive standing ovations and confirmation that our audience loves the concerts—but not everybody loves classical music. We want people to know that we play concerts such as ‘Sinatra & Friends’ and collaborate with artists like Steve Lippia as well.”

Hymes has previously collaborated with Lippia while she was conducting the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and is excited to work with him on this upcoming concert event.

“Steve is a ‘Rat Pack’ guy who sounds terrific and has great stage presence,” Hymes shared. “He’s got that jazz-show swagger, and he loves what he does. I find him really inspirational. People who attend [‘Sinatra & Friends’] will get to see the orchestra play popular music from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, and with that in mind, I’ve added a Pops series for next year, and I think this concert and the new series will show the community that we are listening to what they say and are watching what is selling. I think collaborative efforts such as this one with Steve and other concerts where we have or are collaborating with organizations such as the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Carmel High School Ambassadors and Actors Theater of Indiana are very exciting. Everybody’s got 50% at stake, and when you both jump in with two feet and create something together, it makes it even more exciting.”

Lippia has become one of the most prominent, in-demand vocalists and has quickly established his place among the finest interpreters of “standards” and traditional pop music in the nation. Lippia’s youthful, energetic talent and powerful show create a perfect blend of “classic” with “today.” His show introduces a new generation to this timeless music while appealing to longtime listeners.

After leaving his previous career as a stockbroker in New York City, Lippia took a huge leap of faith and began his music career headlining highly successful, extended engagements at the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where standing-room-only audiences lined up more than two hours before show time to vie for seating. He has performed in multiple engagements for Hilton Atlantic City and Casino Windsor, among others, and has become a favorite of symphonies and has performed to sold-out symphony audiences across North America.

“Like a lot of people, I was introduced to this music [The Great American Songbook or American Standards] watching television as a kid and through my parents’ influence,” Lippia said. “I just kind of took to the music. Every generation has its own ‘cool’ and has some great music that on a visceral level—at the very least—you can appreciate for its beautiful melodies, great harmonies and arrangements. I know it may seem simplistic, but I use food analogies. Imagine going to a restaurant with your family, and a 16-year-old family member looks at you in horror because you ordered ravioli at an Italian restaurant, and he says, ‘That is so 1950s.’ Then you say, ‘Ravioli was good in the 1950s, and it’s really good in the 2000s’ because there is something universally pleasing about it.”

Lippia continued, “I think that’s why we like Bach, Beethoven, Elvis, Renoir and Monet. There are some elements of art that transcend that sort of simple, temporal and tribal notions of culture. I always tell people, we like what is familiar to us.”

He paused and then added, “The shelf life of music used to be 25 years or more and then it was 10 and now it’s almost 10 minutes. You can play something from the early 2000s and a young person will tell you that it’s ‘old school.’ I think that’s an arrogant, antiestablishment and provincial attitude, and sometimes you throw the baby out with the bath water, but that’s just my view of the progression of culture in our country and probably around the world. I always tell people that you either grew up listening to this music or you grew up listening to your elders listening to this music, but in one way or another, it reached you. Maybe you’ll listen to Maroon Five and Bruno Mars but why not Maroon Five, Bruno Mars, Elvis and Wagner?”

When asked about reuniting for another concert with Hymes and returning to Carmel, Lippia said, “I worked with Janna years ago with the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra—that was our first collaboration. She is one of my favorite pops conductors. I immediately liked her and respected her abilities as a conductor, as well as her understanding of pops music. There’s a learning curve [to conducting pops], but Janna was at home with the music right away. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Carmel. It is a beautiful community—you folks have some cool architecture. It’s an odd pocket of really high-level architecture right in the middle of the Midwest.”

Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Both Hymes and Lippia emphasized that the audience participation by coming “dressed for the era” will help make for a fun and memorable night out at the beautiful Palladium.

Hymes concluded, “We hope that people join us for ‘Sinatra & Friends.’ It’s the kind of music that you know or recognize, and it makes people feel good. I think people might be looking for some fun things to do after the holidays, and if they come dressed in ’40s, ’50s or ’60s attire and come early to enjoy cocktails and preconcert entertainment up in the Founders’ Room, it will be a fun event for the adults, but the concert itself will be fun for all ages.”

For more information and to purchase tickets to CSO’s “Sinatra & Friends” with Steve Lippia, visit thecenterpresents.org.