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Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler [1978]

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0445
Run Time
0h 53m 17s
Date Produced
Evening at Pops is a long-term television series produced by Boston's local PBS-affiliate station, WGBH. It aired from 1970-2005 (reaching much wider PBS audiences than the WGBH area), and was conducted by Arthur Fiedler from 1970-1979. The program included a wide variety of performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra, usually also featuring special guest performers. 

This video is a recording of a 1978 episode of Evening at Pops, in which the special guest is San Francisco-based tap dancer and mime Noel Parenti. He leads the Boston Pops in a performance of Morton Gould's Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra. 
The video begins with an animated introductory sequence for the program, Evening with Pops. A voiceover then introduces the guest, Noel Parenti, and Arthur Fiedler, who begins conducting the first piece: the National Emblem March by Edwin Eugene Bagley. The camera cuts to various shots of the orchestra as it plays the piece, and Fiedler as he conducts. 

When the piece is complete, the camera shows a clapping audience and the voiceover announces the next piece: Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna by Franz von Suppé. Then, Fritz Kreisler's Tambourin Chinois. During the piece's encore, a segment from Gioachino Rossini's opera William Tell, the video includes some 'split-screen' shots, with multiple camera views of various parts of the orchestra all sharing the screen at once.  

Next is the featured performance by special guest Noel Parenti, who enters stage wearing a tuxedo with tails to perform the lead 'instrument' for Morton Gould's Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra. This involves his own choreography, a highly difficult and intricate dance that is once again shown using the split-screen effect. In between movements he uses a towel to wipe his brow and jokingly offers it to Fiedler as well; then he dons a top hat and grabs a cane for the second movement. For this segment, he mimes the movements of a stiff old man. Then, relinquishing these props, he performs the third movement, best described as a ballet dance with tapping added in. Much of this segment consists of ballet's pirouettes, developés, arabesques, coupés, attitude turns, etc. The fourth and final movement is more of a medley: it includes ballet, more traditional tap, jazz dance, a cartwheel, some mime, etc. When the entire piece is completed, composer Martin Gould appears and joins the rest onstage. All stand to thank him and Parenti exits.

The announcer then indicates Parenti's return, this time with his partner Karen McCormick, for their dance to Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer." For this comic dance, Parenti enters through the audience, wearing flippers, a false nose, and a top hat. When he reaches the stage, he encounters McCormick, similarly adorned. The two perform a silly dance together.

After the two dancers exit, the announcer introduces the orchestra's final pieces for the evening: "Stayin' Alive" and "How Deep is Your Love" from the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. The video ends just as the pieces are completed, before any final credits can run.
Main Credits
WGBH-Boston (television station) (corporate name)
Additional Credit
Bagley, Edwin (is composer)
Galusha, Gene (is announcer)
Gould, Morton (is composer)
Kreisler, Fritz (is composer)
Parenti, Noel (is choreographer)
Rossini, Gioachino (is composer)
The Bee Gees (is composer)
Von Suppé, Franz (is composer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Fiedler, Arthur (is host)
Parenti, Noel (is performer)
Galusha, Gene (is announcer)
Boston Pops Orchestra (is performing group)
Hoherman, Martin (is musician)
Related Place
Boston (production location of)