Friday, February 23, 2024 | Guest Author, George Denney
Originally published in The Business Journal Daily, Youngstown Publishing Co.
My wife, Arlene, and I were at our first concert before we were married, clapping hands and standing on our seats in Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown.
It was 1968, and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were on stage.
Memories of that night more than 50 years ago filled me with wild emotion as we stood with the crowd at Powers Auditorium on Valentine’s Day to applaud David Perrico for his composition, “Youngstown Steeltown,” performed by Pop Symphonic and the Youngstown Symphony.
Perrico’s trumpet and his tribute to our city sparked a standing ovation by an audience composed of symphony concert regulars, Chaney High School and YSU Dana School of Music alumni and others who came to welcome home one of their own. It was a magical scene in the middle of the city in which I have resided for more than 70 years.
Full disclosure: David Perrico is a close friend; his father is a lifetime friend; and his brother, Brian, is our godson.
I remember the winter weekends years ago when David, Brian and our son, Steve, went sledding in Mill Creek Park, and when David’s father went to Vietnam. A half century has gone by, and here we are.
I am neither a music critic nor have I ever written a review. But I have something to say about good things that happen in my community, and I like to talk about people from our city who do well.
At the Powers Auditorium concert, Perrico and 14 of his musicians and vocalists from Las Vegas, with local guest artist Jackie Popovec of The Vindys, joined with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra for a joyful blend of classical, opera, pop and rock music – all arranged by Perrico, who served as guest conductor.
Perrico is a native of Youngstown and a graduate of Chaney High School and Dana School of Music. For the popular Las Vegas entertainer, his hometown concert was like a celebration with friends.
Since relocating to Las Vegas 20 years ago, he has become one of the most in-demand musicians for casinos, private parties and concerts. His wife, Lily Arce, is a vocal artist with several groups in Vegas. She also performed at the show in Youngstown.
Perrico has organized several bands in his career. He currently fronts a 19-piece ensemble that is the house band for the Las Vegas Raiders and performs at all home games at Allegiant Stadium.
Perrico had started working to create a pop music and symphony orchestra blend in 2020, when casinos shut down their live shows. Forced to stay home during the pandemic, he wrote compositions and music arrangements for days – pausing for the occasional hike with Lily.
When Covid restrictions were lifted, he gathered 60 top musicians and eight vocalists to create his Pop Symphonic orchestra. The act puts a lively and brassy spin on popular songs.
He performed some of his arrangements in Youngstown, featuring Pop Symphonic members Arce and Fletch Walcott on vocals, Andrew Friedlander on tenor sax and David Siegal on piano.
Perrico features the string section. Pop Symphonic travels with an animated group of violinists and cellists that move and sound as one. This was especially true in Perrico’s arrangement of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band.
I’ve attended Pop Strings concerts in Las Vegas and a game at Allegiant Stadium while the Raiders House Band performed. On each occasion, audiences and crowds connected with Perrico.
It happened again in Youngstown on Valentine’s Day.
In all his work, Perrico strives for a connection with his audience, and when it happens, he says you can feel the love. It was obvious again when many gathered at Penguin City Brewing after the concert. Perrico shook hands and hugged friends and fans for two hours.
Cities like Youngstown need to feel the love, to celebrate themselves, to celebrate the achievements of those among us. That’s why David Perrico’s return was so important.
Let’s hope we see Pop Symphonic again.
Editor’s note: George Denney is happily retired after working three careers over a 50-year span. He was a steelworker in Youngstown, a reporter for the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator, and a Youngstown Municipal Court administrator. He and his wife remain city residents.
Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
Watch David Perrico (Trumpet/Conductor of Pop Symphonic) as he's interviewed on WKBN Channel 27, Youngstown Ohio, discussing their upcoming concert featuring POP SYMPHONIC in collaboration with The Youngstown Symphony on Feb 14, 2024, 7:30pm @ Powers Auditorium, DeYor Performing Arts Center. In this interview, you'll hear Perrico talk about growing up in Youngstown, and what it's like to go home again!
Tickets to the concert are available NOW on the DeYor Performing Arts Center website:
Tuesday, December 19, 2023 | The Business Journal, written by Guy D'Astolfo
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – David Perrico, the Las Vegas-based bandleader and director of the house band for the NFL’s Raiders, will return to Youngstown for his first hometown concert.
Perrico and 13 musicians and vocalists from his Pop Strings Orchestra will take center stage Feb. 14 at Powers Auditorium, accompanied by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
Pop Strings, which performs regularly in the casino city, is known for its energetic orchestral versions of pop and rock songs. The Valentine’s Day concert will mark the first time Perrrico will bring the show to Youngstown – or any city.
The acclaimed trumpet player grew up on the West Side and graduated from Chaney High School and attended the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. He has lived in Las Vegas for 20 years, where he owns a music production company.
It’s been 30 years since he’s played in Youngstown – it was in his college years – although he did take part in the Tony Leonardi memorial concert in August at YSU. The late Leonardi was a well-known jazz professor at YSU and taught Perrico and countless other musicians.
Perrico is known for putting a Las Vegas spin on modern songs, using a 70-piece orchestra and at least a half-dozen vocalists.
“It’s a symphony that plays like a band,” he said in a phone interview. “We count off and go. It creates excitement, and it’s a lot of fun.”
For his Youngstown concert, which will start at 7:30 p.m., he will bring two singers, a rhythm section and a string section.
The set list of at least 17 songs will include a Bruno Mars medley, Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” and songs by AC/DC, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and the opera “Pagliacci,” among others.
He described what the audience can expect.
“We’ll get them comfortable with some familiar music in the first half,” he said. “In the second half, I will talk about Youngstown. I still consider it home. I live in Las Vegas, but a part of me is connected to Youngstown, and my family and friends are there.”
The highlight will be “Youngstown, SteelTown,” his seven-minute tribute to the city released last year. To see the video, click HERE.
Physical copies of Pop Strings music, including the album that includes “Youngstown, SteelTown,” will be available to purchase.
Perrico and YSO officials had been talking about doing the concert for a year. They hammered out the details when he was in town for the Leonardi concert.
Perrico has always maintained his connection to his hometown and said he’s thrilled for the opportunity.
“I stay in touch with a lot of people from Youngstown,” he said. “They visit me when they come out to Vegas. A lot came to Reynolds Hall [in Las Vegas] when we recorded the Youngstown song.
It will be the first time Perrico and his ensemble will travel to perform with a regional orchestra, but it likely won’t be the last. Perrico said he would like to make such appearances part of his plan going forward.
His is a style loosely based on that of Doc Severinsen, the former NBC bandleader and trumpeter who became famous in the ’70s as leader of “The Tonight Show” band. “He was one of my idols,” Perrico said. “I loved what he did his whole career as a soloist and conductor of pops concerts. The difference between mine and other pops orchestras is I’m doing bands like AC/DC and Journey, true to the originals but accentuated with my arrangements.”
In 1994, with his undergrad days at YSU drawing to a close, Perrico left Youngstown to go on the road with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The stint was meant to be a temporary one, as a substitute for vacationing band members, but it became full time and was the start of his music career.
He and Pop Strings have since become a fixture in Las Vegas. The orchestra has maintained residencies at several major casino venues, including Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand, and also at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Perrico also owns DPG Enterprises, which employs 100 musicians and manages 20 bands.
With his instantly recognizable hat, Perrico performs at all Las Vegas Raiders games. Perched on a stage in the new team’s new Allegiant Stadium, he and his ensemble play for the crowd before the opening kickoff, at halftime and after every Raiders score.
Perrico and Pop Strings have performed at corporate events in Vegas with members of the team’s Raiderettes cheer squad.Tickets for the Youngstown concert range from $35 to $85 (plus applicable fees) and will go on sale Friday, Dec. 22, at the DeYor Performing Arts Centre box office, downtown; by phone at 330 259 9651; and online at experienceyourarts.org. Discounts are available for YSO season ticket holders and students.
Click the image above (or the button below) to watch the KTNV Las Vegas news story featuring 2 local, young singers who are getting the opportunity to perform on stage at The Smith Center alongside David Perrico & Pop Strings Orchestra at their Christmas Show this upcoming weekend, Dec 1st, 2023!
David Perrico Pop Symphonic 70-piece rock symphony performing "Don't Stop Believin" featuring the Raiderettes! 7-14-23 The Smith Center Reynolds Hall Las Vegas.
Raiders.com article: "The Silver and Black rock out with The David Perrico Pop Symphonic at The Smith Center"
Originally posted Jul 18, 2023 at 11:50 AM on RAIDERS.COM
by Levi Edwards (Digital Team Reporter)
The David Perrico Pop Symphonic rocked out The Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas last Friday night, with some assistance from the Silver and Black.
Perrico, composer and showman for the 70 member group, serves as the leader of the Raiders House Band on gamedays – renewing the tradition of live musical stylings at Raiders games that dates back to the 1960s when Del Courtney formed the first Raiders band.
He has now branched out to create a rock-orchestra, The Pop Symphonic, which debuted in Reynolds Hall at Smith Center to a full crowd. During the performance, 34 Raiderettes made an appearance on stage for an Beethoven-esque rendition of "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC.
The orchestra was also fueled by a performance from three-time Super Bowl champion... <read more>
David Perrico's interview with Jillian Lopez on Las Vegas Now, discussing Pop Symphonic's (68-piece featuring the Raiderettes) upcoming concert at The Smith Center on July 14th.
Get tickets here:
David Perrico & Raiderettes Director Tiphanie Mcniff were featured on The MORE SHOW Las Vegas on Thursday, June 1, as they talked about Pop Symphonic's upcoming performance at The Smith Center on July 14th. Click on the video to watch!
The Smith Center NEWS BLOG, originally posted 4/21/23
After 10 years of selling out Myron’s concerts with his Pop Strings Orchestra and its rollicking pop covers, “I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work,” says acclaimed trumpeter-composer David Perrico.
For instance, Perrico — known nationally as music director for the Las Vegas Raiders — saw how audiences at his holiday show lit up at a surprise visit from the Raiders’ cheerleaders, the Raiderettes.
And when Perrico filmed a music video at The Smith Center’s spacious Reynolds Hall, he saw how glorious the stage looked when filled with a full symphony.
“Everyone was so jazzed about it,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘maybe we could do a show in here.’”
Building on this vision, Perrico will deliver an epic performance as he’s never done before on July 14 in Reynolds Hall.
Transforming his traditional ensemble into the Pop Symphonic, Perrico’s large-scale show will feature a tremendous, 68-piece orchestra of top Las Vegas musicians – as well as eight powerhouse vocalists.
To thrill audiences of all musical tastes, the set list will span classical, pop, Latin, ‘70s and ‘80s rock and more, including hits by Foreigner, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.
The show will also feature celebrity guests… Plus performances by all 32 of the Raiderettes led by Tiphanie McNiff.
“I want to keep this pure Vegas, and I want to give the audience something they can’t see at home,” Perrico says. “It’s a party. I want it to be fun.”
VIRTUOSOS, CELEBRITIES AND RAIDERETTES – OH MY
Perrico vows this show will feature Las Vegas’ most glittering talent.
His Pop Symphonic will showcase musicians who perform with headliners such as Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, Aerosmith and Andrea Bocelli.
“These are all virtuoso musicians,” Perrico assures.
Audiences will also enjoy surprise, big-name artists who have performed at Raiders games, he adds.
Bringing in the Raiderettes proved an easy decision, he notes, as he already customizes music for their dances at Allegiant Stadium.
“They like working with a live band — any dancer will say that,” Perrico says. “I also think the Raiderettes strengthens our presence of the Raiders in the community.”
MAKING CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR THE MASSES
Perrico keeps one goal in mind with his symphonic versions of rock and pop anthems.
He wants to make orchestral music accessible for the general public.
“When you start getting into heavier stuff like Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, people appreciate it, but might not connect with it,” he explains.
So, he plans to pack his upcoming show with “songs that people can sing,” he says, including symphonic adaptations of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“My goal is to always connect with the audience,” he says. “This will be very high energy.”
Perrico hopes this will lead to an ongoing series of Pop Symphonic concerts, with themes spanning Disney, The Godfather and James Bond.
“I’m excited, the musicians are excited and the Raiderettes are excited to come together and have this really fun night of music,” he says.
David Perrico Pop Symphonic – Featuring the Raiderettes runs at 7:30 p.m. on July 14. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
DAVID PERRICO IN THE NEWS
Here's where you'll find all the latest news about David Perrico, Pop Strings Orchestra, and many of the other bands David Perrico produces. Find more info about ALL THE BANDS here!