Musical legend Dionne Warwick to sing with Springfield Symphony Pops

Date: 10/5/2009

SPRINGFIELD Beloved singer and respected humanitarian Dionne Warwick will make an appearance with the Springfield Symphony Pops at a concert Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in Symphony Hall. For tickets call 733-2291.

Warwick's appearance with the orchestra kicks off the Pops season of well-loved favorites said Springfield Symphony Executive Director Michael Jonnes. "Dionne is the owner of 12 consecutive Top 100 hits between 1963 and 1966 and we're glad to have her join our orchestra to reprise that music," said Jonnes.

Warwick also brings a top music director/pianist Kathleen Rubbicco who has accompanied the likes of Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Crawford and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

Also returning home to conduct a portion of the program will be Western Massachusetts native Sean Burton who will conduct the orchestra in a tribute to Stevie Wonder.

The Grammy award winning Warwick, then a teen, was singing in a group, the Gospelaires, with her sister and four other members of her church choir when Burt Bacharach approached her to try new songs he was writing with his new partner Hal David. The tryout earned her a recording contract, which led to her first hit single in 1962, "Don't Make Me Over" composed by Bacharach and David.

The relationship helped Warwick become the preeminent interpreter of the Bacharach/David songbook. In all, Warwick, Bacharach and David garnered 30 hit singles, and close to 20 best-selling albums, during their first 10 years together.

Four decades later Warwick will grace the Symphony Hall Stage with such hits as "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Walk on By," "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Wishin' and Hopin.'"

But no matter that she's traveled the world many times over, the road always leads her back home to the a New Hope Baptist Church, the center of her universe since she was 11.

In recent years, Warwick has taken the stage for live performances with symphony orchestras, which brings her to Springfield after performances with the Edmonton, Baltimore and San Diego symphony orchestras. San Diego critic Rob Appel wrote, after a July performance, "At 70 Dionne still retains the rich, lush alto-soul voice everyone recognizes. She is known as the artist who bridged the gap her soulful blend of pop, gospel and R&B transcended race, generation, culture and musical boundaries."

Music is only a part of Warwick's life. She was one of the first artists to lead the music industry in the fight against AIDS with her landmark recording of "That's What Friends are For" in a collaboration with Bacharach, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

The concert is sponsored by Baystate Health. Media sponsors are the Valley Advocate and WEIB 106.3 Smooth FM. MassMutual Financial Group is the official season sponsor.

All concert tickets may be purchased from the Springfield Symphony Box Office, 1350 Main St., downtown Springfield, charge (VISA, MasterCard American Express or Discover) by calling 733-2291 or online at

Tickets range from $15 to $62 with secure free parking. Tickets for youth age four to 17 are half price. A discount of 25 percent is available for groups of 10 or more. Visit the SSO Web site at