When the Philly Pops presents its final program of the season next weekend, flutist Ed Schultz will be in his usual place onstage at Verizon Hall.
Titled “Sixties Hits,” the program features the four original cast members of the Broadway mega-hit Jersey Boys. Together with the Philly Pops Orchestra, they’ll perform highlights of the 1960s music featured in the show.
“I enjoy ‘60s music — it’s fun to listen to and fun to play,” says Schultz.
The three Philly Pops concerts — the final ones this season — take place on May 16-18.
The Elkins Park flutist is a longtime Philly Pops member. He even played in the first concert under Peter Nero 35 years ago. And he’s been principal flutist for the Philly Pops for the past 12 years. For most of those years, Nero was conducting. When he retired two years ago, music director Michael Krajewski took over.
“He likes innovative programs,” says Schultz. “And he has a charming way with the audience. He has a sense of humor and he can be quite funny.”
Schultz and the other Pops musicians are also devoted to Peter Nero. In fact, Nero will lead a Pops concert in Cape May on May 24. The versatile musician is not only principal flutist with the Philly Pops, but with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, the Academy of Vocal Arts Orchestra and Network for New Music. He’s also a regular substitute with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has played with the West Jersey Chamber Orchestra and Vox Ama Deus.
So his flute is well-traveled. And his calendar is crowded with music activities — opera, chamber music, Pops music and more. Just in the course of a few weeks, the performances have included the Academy of Vocal Arts production of the Massenet opera Manon, then two recitals on the same day, and this Sunday and Monday, May 11 and 12, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia presents an all-Tchaikovsky program.
“It’s always a pleasure to play with my colleagues in the wind section,” says Schultz. “We don’t play together regularly, but when we do, we can instantly lock into each other in terms of making music.”
After the chamber music concerts comes a big leap from Tchaikovsky to ‘60s music from Jersey Boys with the Philly Pops concerts.
More Broadway music comes next month, when Schultz performs with the orchestra that will play for Evita. Schultz also was in the orchestra for Phantom of the Opera and Porgy and Bess earlier this season.
He not only attends rehearsals for these varied concerts, but puts in practice at home in Elkins Park, where a separate room is devoted entirely to music. On one wall is a photo of Schultz’s teacher from the New England Conservatory, James Pappoutsakis. There’s also a photo of his late father, Robert Schultz, with his jazz quartet. His father was a mining engineer for U.S. Steel, but music was his avocation. He played clarinet and saxophone with a jazz quartet on weekends. Another photo shows his mother, Barbara Burwell, playing guitar.
Both of Ed Schultz’s sons have inherited the music gene. Daniel, 27, played the cello in high school and electric bass in college. Paul, 23, played the flute and now is interested in piano. Neither is a professional musician like their father. Wife Beth Parke is also not a musician — she’s executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists. But she’s a music lover who comes to many concerts.
Schultz plays three instruments — flute, alto flute and piccolo. His flute collection includes an instrument from Nepal that’s made of bamboo and a Native American flute that is played like a recorder.
His trusty standard flute — the one he uses most often — was acquired in 1972, when he was a freshman at the New England Conservatory.
“It has played many, many notes since then,” he says.
And this month, it will play many more notes, as the busy musician performs with the Chamber Orchestra, the Philly Pops and, next month, Broadway music with Evita at the Academy of Music, which runs from June 17 to 22.
“I enjoy the diversity that all these groups offer,” he says. “And it’s also the opportunity to play with many great musicians.” ••
If you go…
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia presents a program of all-Tchaikovsky music in the Perelman Theater of the Kimmel Center this Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. For tickets, call 215-545-1739 or visit www.chamberorchestra.org
The Philly Pops concert, “Sixties Hits,” is presented May 16, 17 and 18 in Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center. For tickets, call 215-893-1955 or go to phillypops.org