He had always been a fan of the Boston Pops, but he never really dreamed of leading the orchestra. The conductor's job simply isn't one that becomes available often. Arthur Fielder was the Pops' conductor from 1930 until his death in 1979. He was followed by John Williams, whose announcement in the early 1990s that he would not return spurred the Pops to look for a young conductor who could appeal to younger audiences, Lockhart said.
So began a courtship with Lockhart, who was "fascinated" by the Pops' varied programs.
"I thought, gee, this looks like I can do great things here," he said. "It's constantly different."
Lockhart officially took over as conductor in 1995. The numbers dotting his biography speak to how long he's been at the helm. He's led the Pops on 32 national tours. He's made 66 television shows with them. He's conducted the Pops in more than 1,000 concerts. He's worked with a seemingly endless number of artists, including k.d. Lang, Celine Dion, Elvis Costello, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, and Mel TormE.
Somehow, Lockhart still has time for a second career. He serves as the music director of the Utah Symphony, an arrangement he said he's able to pull off by flying a lot.
With the Utah Symphony, he is able to immerse himself in the more classical side of orchestra music.
"I do the more serious side of the music," he said.
Being involved in both symphonies is ideal because each lets him explore a different interest and in turn invigorates him for the other, he said.
Lockhart took a break from traveling for Thanksgiving, spending the holiday in Boston and gearing up for the Pops' holiday tour. Proctors has become an annual stop, and Lockhart said he always enjoys performing in Schenectady.
"It's a great family show," he said. "We have such a wide range of audiences. There are 4-year-olds with their grandparents and everyone in between."
Tickets are $20, $40, $70, $80 and $90 and can be purchased through Proctors' Web site at www.proctors.org or by calling the box office at 346-6204. ""