ARTHUR FIEDLER & the POPS…1950 & 1964
I was twice privileged to see Arthur Fiedler conduct the famous Boston “Pops”.
The first time was at Boston’s Symphony Hall in 1950. In those days the Hall had two faces. During the Symphony Season it would be very conventional but as soon as that was over the seats and risers were removed and small tables and chairs, reminiscent of the type that you might see at a curbside Bistro, were packed in.
I was 17, on a first date with a College man (sigh) and attending the opening concert of the 65th season of the Boston Pops. Who could ask for anything more?
As soon as Arthur Fiedler came to the podium a roar of approval erupted from the audience. He gave a low bow of thanks and then took up his baton. The lights were lowered, the talking ceased and the concert began. It was a typical “Pops” evening filled with semi-classical music and a few lighter pieces.
What really impressed me was that, at the end of each number, instead of going offstage, Arthur Fiedler took a seat up front on the stage and beamed at us, while waitresses collected orders for wine, or lemonade. Then he would stand up...our signal to stop talking...and the next segment would begin.
My second “Fiedler adventure” was again in Boston and this time at the famous Hatch Shell. This is an outdoor concert venue adjacent to the Charles River. The performances are free and there is no formal seating...just a large expanse of grass where the audience spreads blankets and sets up portable chairs.
This time it was 1964 and my husband, some friends and I had spent the day sight-seeing in Boston. We were thrilled to have chosen a day when the Boston Pops would be performing. Once again I was able to listen to and watch the amazing performance of Arthur Fiedler and his beloved “Pops”.
In 1991 the Shell underwent a final significant renovation. It is a “must-see” on any Boston trip and is the site of a memorial to Arthur Fiedler...a fitting tribute to the first permanent conductor of the Pops.