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Symphonic Pops


Step outside of the box, and into a glorious galaxy of polyphonic possibility....
A magical melodious melding of audience and orchestra,
a sonic celebration of community and creativity.....

Billy Jonas, with the Billy Jonas Band, brings his energetic and engaging brand of participatory folk music to a new level of sonic sophistication in his symphony collaborations. Augmenting Jonas’ multi-textured homemade "re-percussion," the orchestra, paired with Jonas’ songs and stories, gives a performance that is exciting both visually and aurally.

Jonas is known for his ability to bring the audience fully into the performance through his accessible songs and leadership from the stage, creating an artistically adventurous atmosphere enjoyed by all ages.

"Having worked with pop stars George Benson, Linda Ronstadt and Judy Collins, I can honestly say that Billy Jonas is a first class performer. His music is compelling, humorous, beautiful and brilliant! Our orchestral fusion concert with him was the highlight of our season."
- Ron Clearfield, Conductor and Music Director, Blue Ridge Orchestra, Asheville, NC

With 22 symphonic scores to choose from, Billy Jonas’ orchestral programs explore exciting new arrangements of Billy's songs, as well as bring new life to altered arrangements of Bach's "Jesu Joy" and Ravel's "Bolero," each performed with new, original lyrics composed and performed by Billy. Throughout all of the shows, audience members will be asked to variously sing-along, percuss-along, move-along (with choreographed hand-motions), and for the finale, kazoo-along with the Billy Jonas Band and the orchestra. Concerts offer plenty of room to personalize the show with antics, unique homemade instruments, added voices and dance.

"Billy Jonas' concert with the orchestra was exceptional, and drew the largest
audience they have had in our theatre. He's a wonderfully talented musician who
quickly establishes a rapport across all ages. An extreme pleasure to have him!"

- John Ellis, Managing Director, Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville, NC

If you want to reach out to new audience, find unique collaborations, and present performances offering something new and totally different, Billy Jonas and the Billy Jonas Band have three offerings to shake it up! (some of the pieces can occur in more than one program):


1. Family/Educational Concert

Vitamin Alphabet - audience participation with sign language and guess-along rhymes: “Vitamin G comes from Grandparents, who tuck you in snug; vitamin H is what you get when they give you a....HUG!”

Nocturnal - audience participation, using hand motions and soft sounds of nocturnal animals. Imagine the audience orchestra snapping their fingers quickly for 10 seconds to create... crickets.

Happy Accident - the story of 4 wonderfully successful inventions that started out as no-so-happy accidents.

Eyes Wide Open - audience participation with a simple refrain and hand motion; a song inviting folks to remain open to miracles at any moment.

What Kind of Cat are You?! - sing-along and guess-along game song, and a guaranteed audience pleaser: “What kind of cat has the first name Tom?.... TOM CAT. And what kind of cat is connected to the engine of your car?.... CATALYTIC CONVERTER.”

Some Houses - an exquisite example of audience orchestration. Four different instruments are created from the materials in the immediate environs of each audience member; they learn their parts as the song progresses.

Old St. Helen - audience participation, singing and hand motions on the chorus. Teaches the history of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen.

‘Wake Up’ Suite: Gotta Get Up, Two Minute Shower, Eat Something, Brush Your Teeth, Totally Ready to Go - a 5 song mini-operetta, tracing the trials and tribulations of a young persons’ morning rituals.

2. Pops Concert

Joy (based on Bach's "Jesu Joy") - audience participation singing on the chorale section. Billy's version preserves the original along with the chorale in English, and adds a fun personal twist by weaving new lyrics around those of the chorale, telling the story of a speeding ticket, and a moral quandry....

Let You Love Me - a song for opening the heart.

Into the Water - with heavy percussion: What happens when one receives the gift of encountering their greatest fear?

Holy Ground - a polyrhythmically robust invocation and invitation to consider the concept of Holy Ground and our perceived alienation from it. Includes baritone marimba and special handbells played by Billy and his ensemble.

You are Not Alone - a song that celebrates connection -- to one's own deep heart, to one's community and environment, and to the great beyond.

Bolero 2.0 -
music by Ravel, lyrics by Billy Jonas. Billy’s lyrics serve as a musicological explication of the piece, and of Ravel’s life. The arrangement ends with a surprise audience sing-along and then kazoo-along. Happy Accidents, Some Houses, Eyes Wide Open, What Kind of Cat are You?!, Old St. Helen, see descriptions above.

3. Holiday Concert (multifaith)

The Turkey That Got Away - the story of a Thanksgiving turkey that escapes, and, in its subsequent journey from house to house, observes multiple holiday traditions (Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Diwali - the Hindu festival of lights).

Let There Be Light - alternately a song of re-emergence from places of personal challenge, of being proactive in the face of adversity, of the birth of the cosmos, and a celebration of all festivals of light (Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwaanza, Diwali).

Christmas Medley - a flexibile array of songs including Silent Night, Good King Wenseslas, Oh Tannenbaum, and Oh Holy Night. Other traditional Chrismas songs can be swapped in as well, and any of the pieces can be done individually.

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah - traditional. A happy sing-along in a minor key -- imagine that!

Ocho Kandelikas (Eight Little Candles) - by Flory Jagoda. A beautiful “Ladino” song (Judeo-Spanish), celebrating the candles lit during the eight days of Hanukkah.

What Wondrous Love Is This/Arabic song/Hebrew song - traditional, arranged by Linda Metzner. Three emotional, heartfelt songs of peace and hope from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism that weave together.

Sanctuary - by Randy Scruggs and John W. Thompson. A simple two-line sing-along that invokes the real reason for the season: "Love prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true; with thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for you."

You are Not Alone, Eyes Wide Open, Joy, Holy Ground - see descriptions above.

“Billy’s complex rhythmic structures, unique stage presence, and textured storytelling, combined with audience participation made me realize we must work with him! His high energy performance is a perfect match for any orchestra looking to captivate and grow their audience, and allow their players to have a great time!”
- Liza Grossman, Conductor and Music Director, Contemporary Youth Orchestra, Cleveland OH

“Working with Billy Jonas and The Billy Jonas Band is a musical treat both for the orchestra musician and the audience, young and old. His works are interesting and clever, and the orchestrations are all of high quality. I look forward to further collaboration!”
- David Teague, Principal Double Bass, The Blue Ridge Orchestra