ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR: Heather Waid
MANAGING DIRECTOR/ACCOMPANIST: Emily Maghanoy Perez
PRODUCER: Jessilee Windhaus
SOUND ENGINEER: Ben Reese
BASSIST: Nathaniel Chung
HOUSE MANAGER: Sadie Jeffries
Denise Delmatier Theisen
Erin O'Brien Skyles
Special guests: Chris Langton, Johnathan Riseberg
Welcome to our second Empire Pop Choir concert, Songs of Summer! We’re so excited to be back for round two and it has been a great joy for me to work with this term’s group of singers.
We thought there was no better way to kick off the start of the season than with a concert featuring “songs of summer:” songs that have charted high on the Billboard charts around summertime over the last few decades. From the quintessential summery Beach Boys hit, “I Get Around,” to perennial party favorite, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” we’ve picked some of the most fun songs over the last sixty years to celebrate the arrival of summer.
As always, we’re so appreciative of your support of Empire Arts Collective and all the talented singers in the Empire Pop Choir. We’ll be starting our next term in September and would love to have you join us. One of my favorite aspects of music-making is the collaborative nature of it and the sense of community it builds, and one of the best ways to experience that is in a choir. Look for announcements coming soon about registration for our fall term.
Thank you for coming, and happy summer!
”I Gotta Feeling”
Summer of 2009
Written by: William Adams, Allan Pineda, Jaime Gomez, Stacy Ferguson, David Guetta, Fredric Riesterer
Arranged by: Mark Brymer
”I Gotta Feeling” is the second single from The Black Eyed Peas' fifth album The E.N.D., produced by French DJ David Guetta. In an interesting twist, the chord progression for “I Gotta Feeling” came from the U2 song “I’ll Go Crazy if I don’t Go Crazy Tonight”. In an interview with Marie Claire, band member will.i.am stated that “I Gotta Feeling” is, “dedicated to all the party people out there in the world that want to go out and party. Mostly every song on the Black Eyed Peas record is painting a picture of our party life. It was a conscious decision to make this type of record. Times are really hard for a lot of people and you want to give them an escape and you want to make them feel good about life, especially at these low points." For us, Pop Choir rehearsals are a time to sink into music and forget about the troubles of the day, so we’re kicking off our concert with this song, an ode to having fun, especially when it’s hard to smile.
”I Get Around”
Summer of 1964
Written by: Brian Wilson & Mike Love
Arranged by: Brian Wilson
Soloists: Alana Andrade, Erin Skyles, Ana Falaleyev, Denise Demaltier Theisen
“I Get Around” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. It was included as the opening track on their studio album All Summer Long. An autobiographical narrative, "I Get Around" begins with a multi-part a cappella introduction that quickly shifts into rock-style verses sung by Mike Love and a pop chorus sung in falsetto by Brian Wilson, who also produced and arranged the song. In 2017, "I Get Around" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Our version is based on the Beach Boys four-part harmony and features four “beach girls” taking the reigns from the boys.
Summer of 1984
Written by: Ray Parker, Jr.
Arranged by: Roger Emerson
Soloists: Lily Tanner
One of the greatest shocks of programming this concert was to find out the “Ghostbusters” was THE summer song of 1984. But once we knew, there was no resisting putting it on the program. According to Parker, he was approached by the film's producers to create a theme song for the film, though he only had a few days to do so and the film's title seemed impossible to include in any lyrics. However, when watching television late at night, Parker saw a cheap commercial for a local service that reminded him that the film had a similar commercial featured for the fictional business. This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion.
”Sorry Not Sorry”
Summer of 2017
Written by: Demi Lovato, Sean Douglas, Trevor Brown, William Zaire Simmons, Warren “Oak” Felder
Arranged by: Coleman Stanton
Soloist: Gabriela Diaz
"Sorry Not Sorry" (stylized as "Sorry Not Sorry") is a song recorded by American singer Demi Lovato. She co-wrote the song with Sean Douglas, Trevor Brown, William Zaire Simmons and its producer Oak Felder. As described by the podcast Switched on Pop, “Sorry Not Sorry” is at once an unapologetic anthem of defiance and a super catchy mashup of multiple genres which foster the song’s message of ascension and overcoming. When paired with the context of Lovato’s well documented struggles and raspy belt, it becomes a raised fist of resistance. The song subverts musical expectations even as Lovato cries out to reclaim her own identity. We’re singing an a capella version mimicking the extended voicing of the song’s instrumentals in all its chromatic glory.
”Love Will Keep Us Together”
Summer of 1973
Written by: Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Arranged by: Roger Emerson
"Love Will Keep Us Together" is a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. It was first recorded by Sedaka in 1973 and was released as a single in France. American pop duo Captain & Tennille covered the song and it was the best-selling single of 1975. Tennille acknowledged Sedaka's authorship—as well as his mid-1970’s comeback—by working the phrase "Sedaka is back" into the song's fadeout, where the applause from the studio musicians can be heard. Their version would earn Sedaka and Greenfield a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.
Written by: Rihanna, Jay-Z, Tricky Stewart, Kuk Harrell, Terius Youngdell Nash aka The-Dream
Arranged by: Eric DeVore and Heather Waid
Soloists: Emily Kenna, Vedrana Novosel
”Umbrella" is a song by Barbadian singer Rihanna from her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). It features American rapper Jay-Z, who co-wrote the song with its producers Tricky Stewart and Kuk Harrell, with additional writing from The-Dream. "Umbrella" is widely acknowledged as the song that propelled Rihanna from rising pop act into superstardom and transformed her into a "fully fledged sex symbol" and a pop icon. "Umbrella" is a pop and R&B song with hip hop and rock influences. The song's musicscape is based on the hi-hat, synthesizers, and a distorted bassline. Rihcanna’s now iconic extra-glottal stretching of the word Umbrella is the chorus that dares you to throw your hands up.
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”
Summer of 1965
Written by: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland
Arranged by: Rosana Eckert
Recorded by the Four Tops and propelled by its iconic looping bass line, “I Can’t Help Myself” became one of the biggest hits of the Motown Recording Label in the summer of 1965. Lamont Dozier told the story behind this song in a behind-the-scenes video for his 2018 Reimagination album: "I stayed with my grandmother when I was a kid. She owned her own home beauty shop, and when the women would come up the walkway to get their hair done, my grandfather would be pedaling around in the garden. He was a bit of a flirt, and would say, 'How you doin', sugar pie? Good morning, honey bunch.' He was one of those types of guys. My grandmother had a big bay window to the front of the house. She'd say, 'Look at that old codger - he thinks I don't see. I know what he's doing.' He was just flirting with his big smile. I'm sitting there on the porch watching this - I'm probably 11 or 12. I was like a sponge, soaking it up. Years later, at Motown, I'm sitting at the piano. I'd take these mind trips back to my childhood, and I'm trying to see what this piano part is telling me. Sure enough, there my grandfather is, pedaling in the garden. That memory comes to my mind's eye, and I know where the song is supposed to go. I hear him saying, 'Good morning, sugar pie. How you doin', honey bunch?' That's what started it." With a backstory as lovely as its harmonies, we hope this song will transport you somewhere sweet.
Summer of 1994
Written by: Marqueze Ethridge, Lisa Nicole Lopes, Rico R. Wade, Pat Brown, Ramon Murray
Arranged by: Ed Lojeski
”Waterfalls" is a song by American recording group TLC. It was written by band member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes with Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize for TLC's second album, CrazySexyCool. The lyrics of the song reference 1990s social issues such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and violence associated with the illegal drug trade. Watkins said that it was important for the group to "get the message across without seeming like preaching.” Jarett E. Nolan of BMG noted that "Waterfalls" was the first number one song ever to reference AIDS in one of its verses. Bette Midler released her cover of TLC's hit “Waterfalls,” which slows the track’s tempo and strips down its famous production in favor of a piano and a soft drum beat echoing in the background. Says Midler, “‘Waterfalls’ was a heartbreaker, especially if you were a mom, and it had a big effect on me. I never thought I would have the nerve to sing it, but I am so glad I took the chance.”
“I Feel The Earth Move”
Summer of 1971
Written by: Carole King
Arranged by: Philip Lawson
“I Feel The Earth Move” is a song written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King, which first appeared on her album Tapestry. The song is a prime example of pop music text painting with the music and supporting the lyrical content. Carole King doesn’t just sing “tumbling down,” her voice tumbles down the scale. The striking piano bass line dares listeners to dance, echoing the metaphorical earth shaking of summer love (or infatuation!)
”I Really Like You/Call Me Maybe”
Summers of 2012 and 2015
Written by: Carly Rae Jepsen, Peter Svensson, Joshua Ramsay, and Tavish Crowe
Arranged by: Heather Waid, Mark Brymer
Soloists: Cheryl Tofsrud, Johnna Phillips, Natalie Peeples
As the queen of catch summer bops, Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen came out of the gate in 2012 with “Call Me Maybe,” which Billboard magazine described as, “a breathless 80s banger… with a fixation on ultra-crisp percussion and blurted-out flirtation.” With its ultra-catchy violin hook, it was inescapable much like a crush you can’t quit. In 2015, she topped the charts again with “I Really Like You,” a song about the liminal space between “I like you” and “I love you.” Lyrically, Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs sit at the crossroads between awkwardness and sincerity; she’s not afraid to say what she thinks. As the patron saint of each person’s inner awkward teens, her songs bore their way into our heads while showing us how to bare our hearts, even and maybe especially when we’re not quite sure how.
”I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
Summer of 1987
Written by: George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam
Arranged by: Heather Wad
Soloists: Caitlin Bishop, Margo Hollingsworth
”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is the first single from Whitney Houston's second studio album, Whitney. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden and written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam. Rubicam explains, “I pictured somebody single wishing that they could find that special person for themselves. It wasn't, 'I wanna go down to the disco and dance,' really, it was, 'I wanna do that dance of life with somebody.' That was the thought behind the song. So we sent our demo version off to Clive Davis and he loved it.” "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" the single sold 4.2 million copies worldwide. After her death, the single returned to the Billboard Hot 100 debuting at number 35 the same week "I Will Always Love You" re-entered at number 7, giving Houston two posthumous Top 40 hits.
Empire Arts Collective is a nonprofit performing arts incubator dedicated to providing education, resources, and collaborative opportunities for performing artists in the Sacramento area. Whether you're a comedian, a poet, an actor, a dancer, a musician, a filmmaker, a burlesque dancer, an acrobat, a drag performer, or any other group or artist with a goal to share your passion with the world, we're here to help you get started and grow your craft. We believe that sharing resources and working together as an inclusive community is the best way to accomplish our goals and create beautiful, life-changing art.