A new name, a new leader

The Glendale Renaissance Orchestra organizers unveiled major changes on Tuesday, including a new name and a new conductor.

Veteran musician/arranger Matt Catingub will head up what will now be called the Glendale Pops Orchestra. Glendale Arts, which operates the Alex Theatre, has assumed all managerial responsibilities of the pops orchestra, and musicians will now be from the local region, officials said.

Catingub, 49, the son of the late jazz vocalist Mavis Rivers, has been music director/conductor for Jack Jones and Toni Tennille and has been conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Pops, where he wrote 90% of the arrangements and orchestrations played by the orchestra.

The new appointment is also a homecoming of sorts, said Catingub, who currently resides in Las Vegas.

“I was born and raised in North Hollywood and graduated from Grant High School, so this is my home and I’m thrilled to be back. I couldn’t ask for a more exciting opportunity,” he said.

The appointment was made after a 3 1/2 month search by the Glendale Arts board, led by Chief Executive Barry McComb and General Manager Elissa Glickman.

Catingub’s experience and contacts with top entertainers will bring a new vision to what a pops orchestra can be, McComb said.

“Pops orchestras traditionally have done light classics, and that hasn’t encouraged younger audiences to attend concerts,” McComb said. “Kids are not exposed to arts in schools to the extent they used to be, and as a result, those people in early adulthood haven’t developed an appreciation for classical music.”

But with Catingub on board, McComb added, the orchestra’s programming can more easily appeal to a wider audience.

Catingub is the perfect fit for two reasons, said Rick Lemmo, chairman of the Glendale Pops Committee and a senior vice president of community relations for Caruso Affiliated, which owns the Americana at Brand.

First, he connects with the audience and with musicians, Lemmo said.

Second, Catingub makes a variety of types of music interesting, Lemmo said.

“He knows how to make a piece interesting to everybody,” he said.

One thing that will make the pops orchestra different from the previous iteration is that its musicians will not be from the New West Symphony, which is based in Thousand Oaks.

This year, Catingub will personally select the musicians from the Los Angeles area to comprise the Glendale Pops Orchestra, McComb said.

Additionally, the name change will give the orchestra more of an identity to the audience, Lemmo added.

“They are a pops orchestra, so the audience will know what is to be expected in the music, and secondly it’s from Glendale,” he said.

The orchestra will debut at a Glendale Arts fundraiser on May 13 at the Alex Theatre. The first concert, themed “Summer Nights Swing,” will be June 30 at the Americana at Brand.

Concerts will alternate between the two venues. Glendale Arts and the Americana will co-sponsor two free concerts at the outdoor mall.

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