Paso Pops Moves to New Location at Paso Robles Event Center
The Paso Robles Horse Park played as the overture-backdrop for the first two years of Paso Pops, but the move to Paso Robles Event Center improves an event still dialing in its tune as a benefit for Paderewski Festival.
The Horse Park had its charm, Cass admits. “But the people are going to love the Event Center,” he added. The family friendly event offers kid activities such as carnival rides, a kids tent sponsored by Cass’ brother Chip Cass (owner of Cahoots Toys) and a petting zoo area where instead of pets there will be musical instruments introduced to the kids by members of the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra.
Other changes this year include the event being held on the Fourth of July itself, instead of a weekend, and the addition of the Paso Robles Rhône Rangers joining as one of the major sponsors. Doors open at 4 p.m., and some 30-40 wineries will be pouring fine Rhône style wines at the pre-concert tasting from 5 to 7.30 p.m. for attendees holding President and Vice-President tables tickets.
Casey Biggs, aka Paso Wine Man, will return as the evening’s emcee and as in previous years promises to make yet another dramatic entrance. But Cass is hesitant to reveal Casey’s appearance this year. “It will be magic,” is all he could offer.
Indeed, the past two years, the Paso Pops has been a magical and celebratory event attended by not only the Paso community but many out-of-town visitors. I noticed last year how the attendees got in the spirit dressing up their tables with elaborate thematic decorations.
And, yes, there is a prize for the best table decoration. The winner gets a table of 10 for the 2019 Paso Pops concert, Cass informed.
The festival, sponsored by Travel Paso, Cass Winery, Firestone Walker Brewery, Paso Robles Rhône Rangers, and DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance Brokers LLC, will continue its popular patriotic theme headlined by the 60-member San Luis Obispo Symphony performing under the baton of its new conductor Andrew Sewell.
Starting at 8 p.m. the concert promises an impressive lineup featuring Holly and Noelle Hadsall’s performance on the piano and soprano soloist Sarah Lawrence’s rendition of songs from “The Phantom of the Opera.”
At 10 p.m. a fireworks display will conclude the dramatic finale to the music of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
The Paderewski Festival was founded in 1993 to honor the Polish composer and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s association with Paso Robles. The first concert was held during the annual Zinfandel Festival weekend, recalled Cass. It evolved into a popular music festival until its demise in 2003, revived later by Cass in 2005 at his winery.
Two years later the festival morphed into Paderewski Reprise — later renamed PaderewskiFestival — with a concert by pianist Jonathan Plowright.
This type of music was more in line with Cass’ sensibilities whose interest in Paderewski also stems from the fact his wife Alice Cass is Polish and a pianist.
Over the years the festival has grown as a four-day event in November presenting classical, jazz, instrumental, alternative, everything but rock ‘n’ roll. It was Cass’ idea to marry the Paderewski Festival with Paso’s tradition of July 4th fireworks, launching Paso Pops. This brilliant companion has added a new dimension to the Paderewski repertoire, each stemming from a genuine grass roots effort by the local community.
“We are trying to make this event so it’s sustainable,” said Cass, clearly still passionate about the event he launched in 2016.
Net proceeds from the concert benefit Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition as well as the youth programs of organizations such as Studios on the Park, Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation and San Luis Obispo Symphony.
Children 12 & Under: Free
Senior, Student & Military – Bleacher Seat: $10
PATRIOT Senior, Student & Military
– Lawn Seating: $15
General Admission – Bleacher Seat: $20
SPEAKER Table Seat: $75
VICE PRESIDENT Table Seat: $100
PRESIDENT Tables Seat: $350
Gates open: 4:00 p.m.
Wine Tasting: 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Concert: 8:00 p.m.
Fireworks: 10:00 p.m.