DSO kicks off 2018-2019 PNC Pops Series With “Dancing in the Street,” a Symphonic Tribute to Motown, October 12-14

- Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead DSO, vocalists, and rock band for symphonic takes on “My Girl,” “Superstition,” and more

- OriginalFunk Brother Dennis Coffey will give post-concert performance in The Cube on October 12

Detroit, (September 19, 2018) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will feel the hometown spirit when it launches the new season of its PNC Pops Series with Dancing in the Street, a celebration of the music of Motown.

Created and conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and produced by Schirmer Theatrical LLC and Greenberg Artists, the concerts will feature vocalists Chester Gregory, Michael Lynche, and Shayna Steele, plus a full rock band on the Orchestra Hall stage. Audiences can enjoy symphonic takes on beloved songs like James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” The Miracles’ “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” Mary Wells’ “My Guy,” and many others.

In Motown’s 1960s and 70s heyday, DSO musicians actually performed on many of the label’s most popular singles, often traveling from symphony concerts to late-night recording sessions at Motown’s West Grand Boulevard headquarters. Then-Concertmaster Gordon Staples and his troupe of DSO players released their own album on the Motown label in 1970, titled Strung Out!under the name Gordon Staples and the String Thing.

The concerts will take place Friday, October 12 at 10:45 a.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m., and Sunday October 14 at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, within Midtown Detroit’s Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.

After the Friday, October 12 concert, a special performance by Dennis Coffey, one of the original Motown Funk Brothers, will take place in The Cube, also within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. See below for more details and ticket information.

In 2017, the DSO’s pops programming took on a fresh title: the PNC Pops Series, thanks to the generous support of PNC Bank. “This is the second consecutive year that PNC has been the title sponsor for the PNC Pops Series,” said Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “This is a terrific series that showcases both the DSO and a wide variety of popular music. That combination is sure to put a smile on the faces of everyone who attends the concerts.” 

Thanks to a generous grant from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US, the DSO welcomes military veterans, active military, and their families to use the code HEROES1819 to unlock $10 tickets for the Friday, October 12 performance. The code can be used at dso.org or by calling the Box Office at (313) 576-5111. More details will be released shortly for other eligible concerts throughout the season. The FCA Foundation and the DSO thank our veterans and active military members for their service.

Additional support for the PNC Pops Series is provided by Masco Corporation Foundation and Greektown Casino-Hotel.

Note: these concerts are not affiliated with Motown Records.

About Jeff Tyzik

Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought-after pops conductors. Tyzik is recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. In addition to his role as Principal Pops Conductor of the DSO, Tyzik holds The Dot and Paul Mason Principal Pops Conductor’s Podium at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and also serves as principal pops conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Rochester Philharmonic — a post he has held for 23 seasons.

Frequently invited as a guest conduc­tor, Tyzik has appeared with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Milwaukee Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In May 2007, the Harmonia Mundi label released his recording of works by Gershwin with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and the RPO, which stayed in the Top 10 on the Billboard classical chart for over three months. Alex Ross of the New Yorker called it “one of the snappiest Gershwin discs in years.”

Committed to performing music of all genres, Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Megan Hilty, Chris Botti, Matthew Morrison, Wynonna Judd, Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, The Chieftains, Mark O’Connor, Doc Severinsen, and John Pizzarelli. He has created numerous original programs that include the great­est music from jazz and classical to Motown, Broadway, film, dance, Latin, and swing. Tyzik holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music. For more information, visit jefftyzik.com.

About Chester Gregory

Born in Gary, IN to a steel mill worker and a school teacher, Chester “Chess” Gregory drew inspiration from hometown hero Michael Jackson to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. He began his journey performing in local talent shows and participating in workshops for young performers.

Gregory earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Columbia College, and began teaching acting classes and directing productions at East Chicago Central High School and Indiana University Northwest. He first gained widespread attention for his leading role in the Chicago-based Black Ensemble Theatre’s production of The Jackie Wilson Story, which culminated with a stop at the Apollo Theater in New York, where the New York Times wrote: “There is essentially one reason—and it’s a very good one—to see The Jackie Wilson Story, and that is the star: Chester Gregory.”

Gregory then made his way to Broadway, earning roles in Hairspray, Tarzan, Cry-Baby, Dreamgirls, and Sister Act. In 2013, Gregory produced his own show, The Eve of Jackie, which was selected to headline the National Black Theatre Festival that year. In addition to acting, Gregory spends many hours in the recording studio, collaborating with prominent artists from Phil Collins to Ledisi. He currently records under the name Chess.

Gregory is a recipient of the Jeff Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, a key to the city of Gary, IN, and an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia College.

About Michael Lynche

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche was introduced to the world as a finalist on the ninth season on American Idol, earning praise for his versatile talent and magnetic charisma. Since Idol, he has performed R&B, pop, soul, and blues music in intimate clubs, in 20,000-seat arenas, and onstage with top orchestras across the world.

Lynche is a close friend of Jeff Tyzik, with whom he regularly collaborates. Tyzik’s Let’s Dance!orchestra program, with Lynche out front, has been performed with symphonies all over North America, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and others.

Lynche joined the American Idol LIVE! tour in 2010 and released his debut solo album in 2012 on Big3 Records. In addition to his regular performances in collaboration with Jeff Tyzik, Lynche has shared bills with Boyz II Men, Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans, and Lyfe Jennings.

Born in St. Petersburg, FL, Lynche now lives and works in New York.

About Shayna Steele

Schooled in jazz by her Godfather and gospel by her choir director (the Grammy-nominated Michael McElroy), Shayna Steele’s first musical stint was an appearance on Ed McMahon’s Star Search when she was 15 years old. Later on, she moved to New York to find her sound, and by chance found herself collaborating with the English electronic musician Moby—first on his 2005 album Hotel and again on the 2007 single “Extreme Ways” and 2008 album Last Night.

Since then, she’s collaborated with countless artists—George Clinton, Bette Midler, John Legend, Snarky Puppy, Queen Latifah, Rihanna, and many more—and released her own music, beginning with I’ll Be Anything, a collaboration with longtime friend David Cook. With rave reviews from every corner of the world, she’s packed her schedule: touring with her band, appearing on TV (from late night shows to the Grammy Awards), performing on Broadway, and giving private lessons to the next generation of singers.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Dancing in the Street begin at $24 and can be purchased at dso.org, by calling the Box Office at (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Original Funk Brother Dennis Coffey will perform in The Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube on Friday, October 12 at 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 ($5 for ticketholders to the PNC Pops concert, with promo code POSTPOP), and VIP Experience tickets (including reserved premium seating and a free drink) are $39.

About Schirmer Theatrical

Schirmer Theatrical, LLC (schirmertheatrical.com), part of the Music Sales Group, was founded in 2014 to develop concert and stage properties owned or administered by the Group. Since the company's founding, Schirmer Theatrical has quickly become a leader in symphonic cinema, producing such film with live orchestra projects as the Academy Award-winning The Red Violin(score by John Corigliano) and The Pink Panther (score by Henry Mancini), along with high-end, fully-licensed symphonic experiences such as Women Rock (a tribute to female songwriters of the 60s-80s) and Revolution (the story of The Beatles at Abbey Road), among others.

About Greenberg Artists

Greenberg Artists (http://www.greenbergartists.com/) represents Grammy Award-winning musicians and produces cutting edge symphonic programs and revolutionary concert experiences for performance halls around the world. Greenberg Artists brings the absolute highest level of talent and musical integrity to the stage with performers who have a proven track record of selling tickets and exciting audiences of all ages

About the DSO

Hailed by the New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. The 2017-2018 Season marked Slatkin’s tenth and final year in the role, and in 2018-2019 he returns as Music Director Laureate. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to Japan in 19 years. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast, and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.