Tucson, AZ---Under the outstanding leadership of Maestro László Veres, for the past 26 years, the Tucson Pops Orchestra has thrived, and the crowds have consistently grown, often spilling over the sides and down the hills of the beautiful grounds of the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center. Veres’ rapport with the audience is legendary – he is genuinely adored by his many fans for his delightful humor, his conducting abilities, and his vast music knowledge. Maestro Veres recently announced his decision to retire as Conductor of the Tucson Pops Orchestra following the 2022 spring season (May 8th – June 12th). “2022 marks my 26th year as Conductor and, if everything goes well, our final Spring concert on June 12 will mark my 227th appearance with the Pops on stage. I have been honored to be at the helm of the Pops Orchestra working with so many great artists for all these years. Our free concerts have brought smiles, joy, and pleasure to so many in the audience which is very gratifying to all of us. In addition to thanking all members of the Orchestra and our dedicated followers, I would also like to thank members of the Pops’ Board for their love and support throughout the years.”
JoAnna Westcott, President of the Tucson Pops Board said, “Speaking on behalf of the Board, I can honestly say it has been our great pleasure to work with Maestro Veres. A gentleman and total professional, László is the embodiment of grace and charm, and taught us all how music brings us together no matter who we are, in good times and bad. With his wonderful mini music lessons from the podium at each concert, he has helped to make orchestral music accessible and enjoyable for all.”
After the last Spring concert in June, Veres will turn the baton officially over to Conductor Designate Khris Dodge, a highly respected musician and educator, who has devoted more than 30 years to the Tucson arts community. Dodge was among other candidates who each guest-conducted concerts over the past 2 years and were given the utmost consideration by the Orchestra and audience members. Dodge was the unanimous selection by both groups. This May, he is retiring as the director of Jovert, Tucson High Magnet School’s steel band – which was started by Veres in 1991. He also currently serves as Executive Director of the Tucson Jazz Festival, owns/operates a full-scale concert production company, and brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to the position as Maestro of the Tucson Pops.
“As I found out at Tucson High, László is a tough – if not impossible – act to follow. I am forever grateful and do not take lightly the big shoes that need to be filled. And just like I did with the steel band, I will maintain the excellence and traditions established by László and his predecessor (another Tucson High great), Bucky Steele, but will continue to evolve the organization and bring my unique skill set to the group. The Tucson Pops Orchestra is overflowing with talent, and I look forward to continuing to let them shine while also introducing new guest artist faces and talents to the stage,” said Dodge.
About the Tucson Pops Orchestra
Founded by Georges DeMeester, the Tucson Pops Orchestra has performed free concerts for the Tucson Public for 68 years. In 1955 DeMeester gathered a group of musicians whose common goal was to share their love of music with the public – to make the classics and popular tunes accessible to everyone at no charge. The newly formed Tucson Pops Orchestra performed wherever spaces were available including the VA Hospital, a hotel on Miracle Mile, at a variety of radio stations, and at Himmel and Reid Parks where they played on the back of a flatbed truck. Little did they imagine then that the Orchestra would still be performing today in the outdoor performance center at Reid Park named after their founder. When Georges retired in 1973, he handed off the baton to Charles “Bucky” Steele who increased the number of musicians in the orchestra and remained conductor until 1997. Since then, Maestro László Veres has continued to grow the orchestra which today consists primarily of Tucson Symphony musicians who perform with the Pops during their off season and whose pleasure it is to continue to provide the highest quality music for free to the Tucson public. For additional information and season schedules visit www.tucsonpops.org or call 520 -722-5853