Cincinnati Pops Favorite Capathia Jenkins Returns to Music Hall

by RaeNosa Onwumelu

Broadway sensation Capathia Jenkins is looking forward to her appearance as the Pops’ New Year’s Eve guest vocalist, her fifth performance with the ensemble. Two things make her particularly excited for her upcoming performance: “I’m excited about the Orchestra because they play so beautifully, and they’re also lovely human beings,” said Jenkins. “And, of course, the Cincinnati audience. They come out to have a good time.”

Although the Orchestra had presented concerts on December 31 over the years, the first jubilant “New Year’s Eve” concert took place in 1989, when legendary Cincinnati Pops Conductor Erich Kunzel led a “Swing in the ‘90s” performance that was followed by a gala dinner and special effects at midnight. Reportedly, the attendees celebrated until 3 a.m.

Jenkins fondly remembers the New Year’s celebrations of her youth, ringing in the New Year with her family in Brooklyn while watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve TV show. “We’d count down to the New Year and then hug each other and thank God for another year of life,” she said. “Those were special times for me.”

This year, Jenkins celebrates the last day of 2019 with her Cincinnati Pops family. New Year’s Eve at Music Hall: Frank and Ella will feature favorites by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, such as “All the Things You Are” and “Come Fly with Me.” Jenkins, who will perform songs recorded by Fitzgerald, is particularly looking forward to singing “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” “It’s an Ella classic,” she explained, “And it’s so much fun to sing.”

Ella Fitzgerald is not just Jenkins’ muse for New Year’s Eve, she also happens to be one of her favorite singers and biggest musical influences. But it’s Ella’s spirit, rather than her voice, that Jenkins really admires. “Ella had pure joy on stage,” said Jenkins “You just felt good when you heard or saw her. I hope I bring that to audiences, too.”

Capathia Jenkins will grace the Music Hall stage on December 31 at 8 p.m. The Pops concert will also feature guest vocalist and pianist Tony DeSare and Principal Pops Guest Conductor Damon Gupton.