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Any artist would give the proverbial "arm and a leg" for a rave review from that dean of critics, Clive Barnes. But when he wrote in the New York Post that "the stylish Maureen McGovern can sing Gershwin like Joan Sutherland can sing Donizetti," he not only gave her the coveted rave, but also a statement that begs to be quoted everywhere.

You can be sure that McGovern will sing some Gershwin, along with other songs that have become part of her special musical province, when she walks out on the stage of Kleinhans Music Hall next Friday and Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. as the star soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Pops.

Maureen McGovern started at the top and has stayed there. The Youngstown, Ohio, native was only 24 when her first recording, "The Morning After," from the film "The Poseidon Adventure," hit the market in 1973 and promptly went gold. Though remaining primarily a singer of sophisticated popular songs such as "Can You Read My Mind," "Different Worlds" and "We May Never Love Like This Again," while composing other pop hits, including ""Thief in the Night" and "Don't Stop Now," she did sneak in a couple of cameo acting appearances in movies such as "Towering Inferno" and played a singing nun in the 1979 movie "Airplane!"

Paul Ferington will conduct McGovern and the BPO in a panoply of her most-loved hits. He'll also offer a few popular orchestral selections, such as medleys from "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "A Chorus Line" plus "Tribute to Henry Mancini." And to show the Pops audience members that there's good stuff they might very well enjoy on the orchestra's Classics Series, he will add the sprightly Overture to "Colas Breugnon" by Kabalevsky and a sampler from Brahms' Serenade No. 1.

-- Herman Trotter

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