New Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt will join the Grand Rapids Pops in his first performance in his new role on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Grand Rapids.

Bernhardt will be joined by Michigan native Doug LaBrecque and Lisa Vroman for Best of Broadway, a Fox Motors Pops series concert featuring the Broadway stars from Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

The performances are 8 p.m. EDT Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. EDT Sunday at DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Avenue NW in Grand Rapids.

As the Pops conductor, Bernhardt is instrumental in shaping the Grand Rapids Symphony-affiliated orchestra’s popular programming, including the Fox Motors Pops, Nestlé Gerber Symphonic Boom and D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series.

Bernhardt pointed out Thursday morning to Andy Rent on 100.5 The River that he has 31 years experience as a music director, 35 years as a conductor of pops and 33 years in the opera pit.

He first led the Grand Rapids Symphony in September 2013 for the Boston Pops Tribute Show, and has worked with the Louisville Orchestra and been a frequent guest with the Boston Pops, he said.

He will conduct numerous Grand Rapids Symphony concerts in his new role, including Classical
Fireworks
in July for the 2015 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series at Cannonsburg Ski & Ride Area near Belmont. He will work with Associate Conductor John Varineau for the musical efforts.

“I’m excited to get to know the audience and bring them to concerts they’ll love to attend and find fun and entertaining," Bernhardt said.

"Last, but definitely not least, I look forward to getting to know this orchestra better -- and to working with them on great music of all kinds.”

'Best of Broadway'

For Best of Broadway, veteran Broadway talents LaBrecque and Vroman are being featured with the Grand Rapids Pops for the production.

LaBrecque has played both The Phantom and Raoul in Harold Prince's production of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, while Vroman has starred as Christine Daae for years in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

Together with the orchestra, they will perform a program of Broadway musicals, including South Pacific, Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables. The medleys will be from Broadway composers and lyricists, including Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony office, 300 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 100; by calling (616) 454-9451, ext. 4, days or (616) 885-1241 evenings and Saturday; at DeVos Place Box Office weekdays or two hours before the performance; through Ticketmaster online, by phone at (800) 982-2787 or at Ticketmaster outlets at select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets and Walmart stores; or online at GRSymphony.org.