When he booked two nights at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, vocalist Steve Lippia’s plan was to share the stage with composer Marvin Hamlisch. Lippia would present his show, “Simply Sinatra,” and Hamlisch would lead the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s pops section in several numbers.
“I was really looking forward to working with him,” Lippia said during a recent phone call from his Las Vegas home. “We met briefly in June.”
Unfortunately, Hamlisch died suddenly at the beginning of August.
Hamlisch, the Academy-award winning musician who wrote “The Way We Were,” had a long-standing relationship with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as their pops conductor
“He had such a prominent place in the symphony world, beyond Dallas, too,” Lippia said. “It was so sad.”
Lippia now plans to be at the Meyerson for two nights, Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27, and will be joined by Grammy-award winning conductor Jeff Tyzik and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as they pay tribute to the music of Hamlisch and cover some of Sinatra’s greatest hits.
“I’ve worked with Jeff quite a bit,” Lippia said. “He’s a very accomplished conductor. He was instrumental in introducing me to symphony work.”
Lippia grew up in a “huge Italian” neighborhood in Southington, Conn. His mother was a professional singer. He sang in the church choir and made all-state and all-national Catholic chorus while in high school. He was also a regular in his school’s variety shows.
He left music behind while in college, where he earned a law degree and worked for a time as a stockbroker.
A divorce and a failed business venture sent him back to his musical roots.
His father had connections to Sinatra, and, to make a long story short, he was soon headlining in Las Vegas, accompanied by a big band, led by Vince Falcone, Frank Sinatra’s conductor from 1978 to 1983.
Falcone lent the young entertainer Sinatra’s charts (arrangements) when it came time to make a record.
“Let me tell you the truth,” Lippia said in a 2009 News-Telegram interview. “On that album, those were the original charts. They are the Holy Grail of orchestrations.”
Since he returned to music full time, Lippia has stayed busy, playing over 100 nights a year, both with his own 10-piece band and in front of orchestras all over the country.
“I recently performed with the Boston Pops,” he noted. “It was a big deal [to me]. They are the definition of pops.”
During longer runs, when he does eight shows in 10 days, Lippia takes care to rest his voice.
“In the midst of it, I do everything I can to conserve,” he explained. “I don’t do a lot of talking.”
As he describes it, doing back- to-back shows is a lot like playing a video game. You only get a certain amount of bullets.
“It can get a little dicey if you’re doing a lot of shows,” he said. “If I get a little exuberant and run out of bullet, I’ve got a problem.”
Lippia enjoys performing in Texas. In the past few years, he’s played the Eisemann Center in Richardson, the Cowan Center in Tyler, with the San Angelo Symphony and the Houston Symphony.
“I’ve played a number of times to full houses in Houston, too,” he noted. “Texas is complicated, interesting and vast. The Republic of Texas is a really cool place.”
Lippia is grateful his audiences have remained loyal during tough economic times.
“My people seem to find some place in their budgets [for tickets],” he noted. “We all have that hole in our soul that needs to be filled, and the arts have a way of doing that.”
Tickets for the concerts range from $45 to $131.
To order, visit dallassymphony.com/season-tickets/single-tickets.aspx
For more information on Steve Lippia, visit http://www.stevelippia.com/
A News-Telegram contest winner and guest will enjoy for two (from the arts menu, excluding beverages and gratuities) at their choice of The Capital Grille, Ocean Prime or The Screen Door prior to Lippia’s show. Then, they will be guests of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the show, with a special invitation from Mr. Lippia to join him in the green room during intermission.
You need not be a subscriber to win this contest, but you cannot have won a News-Telegram sponsored contest in the past 12 months.
Note: Due to a computer glitch, all entries received prior to Friday, Oct. 5, were lost.
Please re-enter at myssnews.com.
Deadline is 11:59 p.m. Oct. 24.
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