Festival offers debut performance

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra Pops conductor Luke Frazier leads a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Valley Campaign with "A Civil War Portrait" at the 2014 Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Peggy Easterly/Image Grafix

The Rat Pack legacy lives long past the group’s heyday in the well-known songs of performers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., but the ladies will get their own tribute at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival tonight.

Principal Pops conductor Luke Frazier will lead the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in the first public performance of his original show “She Did It Her Way” at the festival’s Shrine Mont venue in Orkney Springs. The show will begin at 8 p.m. after the gates open at 6.

“She Did It Her Way” will showcase the classics from women of the era: Doris Day, Eartha Kitt and Sarah Vaughan, among many others. When coming up with the concept for the show, Frazier said he wanted to leave the beaten track of typical Rat Pack shows and give the female singers their due credit.

“There are so many amazing famous women singers who were known for singing great music, but they aren’t as well known as some of these guys,” he said.

At last year’s festival, Frazier led two of his own shows: “I’ll Be Seeing You” featuring World War II era music and performances, and “A Civil War Portrait” featuring battle songs and memoir readings.

Headliners Mary Michael Patterson and Hilary Morrow will lend their vocal talents to Friday’s performance for tunes like “Over the Rainbow,” “Misty” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Morrow sings and acts out of the D.C area, and Patterson comes from her leading Broadway role as Christine Daaé in “Phantom of the Opera.” While planning “She Did It Her Way,” Frazier knew from working with Patterson in the past that her artistic sensitivities would suit the music.

“When I was looking at the repertoire, it just fit her voice perfectly,” he said.

The process for putting one of the shows together takes months of planning and preparation, and Frazier said the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has truly showcased his work at many premieres.

Frazier’s shows have put a fresh spin on Pops orchestra concerts by incorporating actors, dancers and other visuals into themed performances. This year, he said he will be speaking directly to the audience from his podium more often than in past shows.

“It’s a concert I want people to engage with, and Orkney is perfect for that because it’s a more casual environment,” he said. “It’s music that people have grown up knowing and hearing.”

For him, he said the festival audience has always been warm and receptive and he looks forward to providing them with a stylized list of tunes and an overall fun evening.

Jackie Evancho, known as the talented young runner-up on the 2010 season of “America’s Got Talent,” will sing from her 2014 album “Awakening” at the festival at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Find out more about the festival and upcoming performances at http://musicfest.org/.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com