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Pasadena Pops looks back at 1957

Descanso Gardens Pasadena Pops series will be looking back at the year 1957 this weekend for “76 Trombones and More.”

To celebrate, the Pops will be exploring not only music but cultural influences of the Baby Boom era. The diverse program will also include a salute to Humphrey Bogart with music from “Treasure of Sierra Madre” and Erich Korngold’s “The Sea Hawk Overture.”

But it is the influence of 1957 that will take center stage when Richie Ramone joins the orchestra to perform the Buddy Rich drum tribute to “West Side Story.”

Although as a punk rock drummer, Ramone is the not the name normally associated with a concert series like the Pasadena Pops.


“This is the first time he will be performing with the Pops,” said Candyce Columbus, Pops spokeswoman. “He met Rachel [Worby Pops’ music director] through friends and they began talking about the ‘West Side Story’ piece.”

Through that meeting Ramone told Worby how much he would love to perform the arraignment and the Pops series was a perfect match.

Ramone is best known as a member of The Ramones, a punk rock group that lead the way for others like The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Ramone joined the band in 1983 and drummed on albums that include “Too Tough to Die” and “Halfway to Insanity.” Like drummer Buddy Rich, Ramone began drumming at an early age.

“He started playing drums when he was four years old,” Columbus said.


Unlike Rich, who got his training in vaudeville and sharing the stage with the likes of the Tommy Dorsey band, Ramone is a classically trained artist. However both have a unique style that includes speed and precision that amazes audiences around the world.

Worby introduced Ramone to composer/arranger Ron Abel who wrote the arrangements for the “West Side Story” performance for the entire orchestra. The books will be donated to four different organizations that distribute to children in need. One will be through Operation School Bell in Pasadena that helps students in the area with clothing as well as school supplies and books. La Cañada Assistance League donates to the organization annually.

Pops audiences will be treated to a reading of “The Cat in the Hat” by popular television and voice actor J.D. Cullum.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 17 and 18, the concert begins at 7:30p.m. Sunday, August 19, the concert begins at 7 p.m. Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive. . Tickets for reserved seats on Friday and Saturday range from $20 to $85; Sunday tickets range from $20 to $75. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 626 792 7677 extension 217 or visit