Portland Ovations Presents: POP 90 on March 25

Portland Ovations is in production for Portland Ovations Presents: POP 90, a benefit celebration of Ovations’ 90th anniversary year, livestreamed from Merrill Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25. Packed with performances and Portland celebrities, this live event and virtual gathering is free and open to all.

“Our individual and community well-being relies on creating imaginative new ways to be together,” said Aimée M. Petrin in a news release. “This virtual celebration, livestreamed from the stage at Merrill Auditorium, provides us with a glittery chance to celebrate a community milestone — Ovations’ 90th year!”

Portland Ovations was founded as the Portland Music Commission in 1931: in the midst of another global crisis, the Great Depression, the same year that NYC’s Empire State Building was completed. Ovations is performing its way through this crisis, too, knowing that performance facilitates healing. And performance is how we celebrate.

The virtual benefit will begin with VIP guests — Ovations’ POP Star Hosts, at a “ritzy pre-party.” If you missed the fabulously fun and uplifting Paige Hernandez in her earlier visits to Portland Ovations you don’t want to miss her here. Hernandez is a world-renowned performer who is known for her playful, mindful and authentic hip hop aesthetic. This will be on display March 25 when she collaborates with her brother, Nick tha 1Da, to welcome you to POP 90 in style.

From the pre-party Ovations takes you live to Merrill Auditorium, hosted by performance artists, Kerem Durdag and Sara Juli. Kerem is a poet whose roots in theater and poetry run deep, as a translator of Urdu and Turkish poetry as well as author and performer. He is one of six Maine artists commissioned by Ovations, and is at work on “SoulRoar,” a musical theater project with musician Andy Happel exploring the immigrant experience. Sara Juli is a dance maker and performer whose unique mix of comedy and choreography has made her a standout recipient of a National Dance Project award. Juli’s most recent work, “Burnt-Out Wife,” was co-commissioned by Ovations and is still touring when possible.

Durdag and Juli will host live through an evening that includes exclusively made-for-Ovations performances by a trio of other artists who have benefitted from previous Ovations’ commissioning support: violinist and “artivist” Daniel Bernard Roumain of En Masse and Performances in Your Parks fame; Bridgman | Packer Dance, whose multimedia work, “Voyeur,” was created with Ovations in part at recognizable Maine locations; and Kenneth Kellogg, a distinguished bass baritone who was featured in Dan Sonenberg’s “The Summer King.”

The evening will conclude with one of Portland’s own nightlife stars, Cherry Lemonade.

The benefit event includes an online auction of one-of-a-kind experiences including a Maine Get-Away to Mount Desert Island, a Rising Tide Craft Beer Virtual Tasting and Onsite Experience for 8, a unique opportunity to spend an afternoon with Maine’s own Coffee By Design, 6 lunches or dinners for two at Portland’s most popular local restaurants; David’s, Fore Street, North 43 Bistro, Scales, Union at The Press Hotel, and Yarmouth’s Royal River Grill House, and a three-month membership at The Body Architect.

To reserve free tickets to the POP 90 mainstage event, visit

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