The making of the Boston Pops on Nantucket concert.
On August 12th, the single largest, most complex and most popular event in the Nantucket summer season will take the stage on Jetties Beach. The Boston Pops on Nantucket is the largest fundraiser for Nantucket Cottage Hospital, historically generating $2 million each year for the hospital’s year-round operations. Orchestrating the transportation of a hundred musicians, erecting a forty-two-foot stage, managing 250 volunteers and nearly fifty electricians, stage crew and sound experts are just a sampling of the thousands of details that make up this logistical opus. With 7,500 people on Nantucket gathering in one place, organizers cannot miss a beat.
The event requires thirty-six hours of nonstop work to transform Jetties Beach into the hottest concert venue on Nantucket. During this time, a number of key players dance behind the scenes. Jon Rosbrook has been the producer and technical director of the show since it started in 1997. Aisling Glynn of ACKtivities runs the complex logistics of seating, dining, décor, transportation and the pre-party and after-party for 1,500 VIP guests. Kate Perry, the senior officer for events at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, choreographs all the other details. With reworks being shot off from the beach, there’s extensive coordination with Nantucket’s police department, fire department, harbormaster and natural resources.
Beyond the logistics, the look and feel of the Boston Pops on Nantucket and the selection of the talent itself are often heavily influenced by the event’s chairs. This year, summer residents Glenn and Mary Jane Creamer will take center stage along with co-chairs Bob and Laurie Monahan who directed the extravaganza two years ago. The Monahans introduced jumbotrons, added capacity and were the drivers behind the selection of the Beach Boys for this year’s concert, creating a virtual frenzy of ticket sales.
While the Beach Boys are no longer boys, they still tour extensively and their unmistakable falsetto sound and lazy summer melodies will regale the crowd with songs that made them one of the top grossing bands in the early sixties. “It’s the West Coast meets Nantucket,” says Bob Monahan, “The Beach Boys music resonates with all age groups and will ensure a night to remember.” Like Good Humor ice cream, a slice of Wonder Bread and a glass of Hawaiian Punch, there is something about the Beach Boys that take us back in time and appeals to our yearning for nostalgia.
Collaborating with the Monahans, the Creamers’ involvement as co-chairs has greatly enhanced the planning of this year’s performance. “Being chairs for this year’s Pops concert has been so much fun,” says Glenn Creamer. “Everyone from the hospital has been fantastic to work with and very flexible. There’s such a great group of volunteers who dedicate their time and talents every year to make the event so special.” Mary Jane Creamer adds, “The level of enthusiasm for the Pops concert on the island and the way so many people come together to ensure its success make chairing the Pops such a pleasure. We’ve also had the great fortune to work together with our friends Laurie and Bob Monahan, who chaired the Pops in 2014 and have shown us the ropes as our co-chairs for this year’s Pops.”
The Boston Pops on Nantucket concert has sold out every year since 2011, and all indications point to another packed crowd on August 12th. In fact, organizers are expecting so many attendees that they are closely monitoring the tide on Jetties Beach to make sure the audience doesn’t spill into Nantucket Sound. For those who can’t make it, the concert will be live-streamed at The Saltmarsh Senior Center, Sherburne Commons and Our Island Home. Everyone else can just tilt their heads to the sky when fireworks mark the grand finale of this massive beach party.