Stepping Out

An afternoon with Linda Eder and the Nassau Pops

The Broadway star joins the orchestra for a gala concert

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The Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra turns to Broadway for its 10th anniversary gala concert benefiting the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau (UCPN). Linda Eder, known for her starring role in the musical “Jekyll & Hyde,” joins the accomplished orchestra for an afternoon of theatrical delights.
Maestro Louis Panacciulli and his Nassau Pops are ready to share some of the best of Broadway, at this special edition of their annual concert, in support of their 10-year relationship with UCPN, on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m.
“This is a milestone for us and we are thrilled that Linda Eder is going to be part of it,” Panacciulli said. “It is humbling for our local orchestra to work with someone of her caliber. “
Eder has been acclaimed as one of the greatest contemporary voices of our time . With a repertoire that spans Broadway, standards, pop, country and jazz, she has performed for sold-out crowds at venues across the country and throughout Europe. In her role as the tragic character, Lucy, in the musical “Jekyll & Hyde,” Eder blew the roof off of New York’s Plymouth Theater (now renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater) each night for over two years as she belted out the musical’s signature songs, notably “Someone Like You” and “A New Life.”
She has established herself as a popular and accomplished interpreter of pop standards and theatrical songs since she launched her recording career in 1991 with her self-titled debut album. Her numerous releases include “And So Much More,” “It’s No Secret Anymore,” “Christmas Stays the Same,” “Gold,” “Storybook,” “Broadway My Way,” and “By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland.”
A favorite with area audiences, and a frequent performer at Tilles Center, Eder brings some Broadway glamour to the Nassau Pops’ yearly concert.
“We are very fortunate that she is able to join us,” Panacciulli said. “It’s very exciting for us and for the audience. She’s a tremendous talent and has always been a big draw at Tilles Center.”
Eder’s hour-long performance includes a medley of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” Marvin Hamlisch’s “Ice Castles,” and “Climb Every Mountain,” along with such Broadway favorites as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Man of La Mancha” and, of course, some songs from “Jekyll & Hyde.”
As always, the 60-member Nassau Pops opens the concert in their inimitable style. To get everyone in the mood for what is to come, the orchestra sets the tone with an overture from “Hello Dolly!,” followed by an orchestral medley of songs from “Mame” and “My Fair Lady.”
“This is my tribute to the ladies of the stage,” said Panacciulli. “We’re highlighting the great women of Broadway who certainly deserve recognition. Dolly and Mame, of course, are icons. And My Fair Lady always stands out.”
Panacciulli, a Franklin Square resident, has been at the helm of the Nassau Pops since 1984. Besides his duties with his orchestra, Panacciulli is in his 18th year teaching music in Valley Stream School District 13 and serves as band director at Nassau Community College, a post he has held for 23 years.
After the orchestra’s instrumental portion of the program, Creation — the four-person ensemble of singers who participate in UCPN’s Adult Day Treatment Program — will make their yearly appearance to close the first half of the concert. They’ll sing “Till There Was You,” the classic “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Home,” a new song featured on American Idol.
“They do a great job,” said Panacciulli. “They are part of the musical class at UCPN and they’ve been with us for 10 years. Each year they develop more confidence and poise. While new members come and go, it’s been basically the same kids (David, Chris, Riva and Melissa) who have been the group’s core all these years. It’s very uplifting to see them perform and they are what this concert is all about. It makes me feel good. It’s quite an accomplishment for these kids to perform with a 60-piece orchestra.”
The Nassau Pops and UCPN have become closely aligned over the past 10 years. “Everyone knows we work with them — they are our pet project,” Panacciulli said, reflecting upon his involvement with organization. “I was looking for a charity to work with and was immediately taken with what I saw back then,” he relates. “Everyone I met there was smiling and there were so many happy faces. I was really taken by seeing people afflicted with CP. Their enthusiasm, aided by the support of the staff, really caught me. UCPN is a tremendous organization that does great work with infants all the way up to adults. We’ve developed a successful long-lasting relationship.”
As always, all box office receipts are being donated to United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau. “This year, it’s more important than ever for us to be able to help them,” Panacciulli said. “UCPN took a big hit from Sandy. They lost three of their group homes, including the one in Long Beach, and also lost a significant portion of their funding from the state. We are fortunate to have Linda this year and aim to sell out the concert to help out with their budget woes.”
NEFCU has partnered with the Nassau Pops as the concert’s title sponsor. “NEFCU is very closely aligned with the Nassau Pops in our mission to enrich the communities and lives of the neighbors we serve. Their partnership with the Nassau Pops will enable us to donate every dollar of every ticket sold to assist UCPN,” Panacciulli said.
Over 1,800 children and adults with cerebral palsy, developmental and other disabilities attend the UCPN center in Roosevelt. Everything from rehabilitation to recreational therapy, education to employment and specialized primary medical care is available on-site at the private 13-acre campus.

Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra Benefit for UPCN
Sunday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m. Reserved seats are $65, $50 and $35. All proceeds are donated to UCPN. Tickets are available through TillesCharge at (516) 299-3100 or www.tillescenter.org.
Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, LIU Post, Rte. 25A, Brookville.