The Modesto Symphony Orchestra is celebrating music by Italians and Italian-Americans at its "Viva Italia" pops concert next week with guest vocal trio Poperazzi.
Poperazzi will perform a cabaret show Wednesday at the SOS Club and then will perform with the orchestra March 15 at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
The vocal trio blends classical and pop and will sing everything from operatic arias to Frank Sinatra hits, music from "The Godfather" and songs from the Broadway musical "Jersey Boys," about 1960s favorite Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
"It's high energy," said soprano Janien Valentine. "We have lots of comments, like, 'I can't believe the energy of you guys it's so contagious.' The three of us have a really good time on stage and that comes across to our audience."
Based in Las Vegas, the group was founded by tenor George DeMott and his friend fellow tenor Cody Shawn Gay. They found Valentine after auditioning several women.
"Without a doubt, she is the star of all female talent," Gay said.
"Viva Italia" was co-produced and originally conducted by Michael Krajewski, who directed the Modesto Symphony Orchestra from 1989 to 2000.
"He's an amazing guy and he's got such great ideas," DeMott said. "He was wonderful about getting feedback and ideas from us. It was a collaborative thing putting together this show."
Filling in for Krajewski as conductor at the Gallo Center show will be James Lowe, who recently conducted the Broadway revival of "Anything Goes" starring Sutton Foster and Joel Grey. Lowe also has appeared in concert with Sir Elton John and has conducted his own orchestrations and choral arrangements of John's songs.
Everyone on stage will dress as sharply as possible, Valentine said. The male members of Poperazzi will wear sharkskin gray suits, while she has a "plethora" of costume changes, including formal gowns to sexy and sophisticated cocktail attire.
Valentine said it's fun for everyone to sing such a range of musical styles.
"Artists like myself have ADD, and this program satisfies that for me," she said.
The trio loves meeting audience members and urges people to stay after the concert to say hi. "We're a friendly bunch," DeMott said. "We like to think of ourselves more as entertainers than singers. We have a good time."
WHAT: Modesto Symphony Orchestra: Viva Italia! (Poperazzi)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (cabaret) and 8 p.m. March 15 (full concert)
WHERE: Cabaret: SOS Club, 819 Sunset Ave. Concert: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto
TICKETS: Cabaret: $75, includes finger food and wine. Full concert: $15-$89
CALL: (209) 338-2100
Modesto Symphony fetes Italian music with a visit by the PoperazziVIVAtaliaI