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Zoo concerts to feature showtunes

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Stuart Chafetz will guest conduct the New Mexico Philharmonic in two zoo concerts next weekend.

Stuart Chafetz will guest conduct the New Mexico Philharmonic in two zoo concerts next weekend.

The New Mexico Philharmonic will be playing at the Rio Grande Zoo twice next weekend.

The program of the Saturday, May 10 concert salutes the Wild West with classical pieces, tunes from the Broadway show “Oklahoma!” theme music of what Stuart Chafetz called “the great American TV Westerns.”

Chafetz, who is guest-conducting the orchestra, chose the selections for the program.

“I was going for a variety, especially because it’s at the zoo with lots of families and in a casual setting,” he said. “I like a mix of light classics with popular songs from Westerns.”

Light classics include “Sunrise” and “On the Trail” from Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” and the segments “Hoedown” and “Buckaroo Holiday” from Aaron Copland’s music for the ballet “Rodeo.”

The orchestra will play film music from the spaghetti Western film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and a medley of themes from such TV Westerns as “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.” There’s even a sing-along with “Home on the Range,” and square dancers are expected to perform in Richard Hayman’s “Pops Hoedown.”

“It’s all good quality music and at the same everyone can have fun,” Chafetz said.

Will he and the musicians wear boots and denims? Maybe.

Chafetz and the philharmonic return to the zoo on May 11 for the annual Mother’s Day concert, this year titled “To Mom With Love!”

Just about everything on the program is related to romance and love.

There’s the overture to the opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” the main theme to Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” the “Wedding March” from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to a stage production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” selections from the musical “West Side Story” and the Young Rascals’ 1966 pop hit “Good Lovin’.”

The hourlong concert concludes with George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”

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