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Picnic At The Pops Returns Starring Michael Cavanaugh
The upcoming Picnic at the Pops show through the Modesto Symphony Orchestra will feature guest artist Michael Cavanaugh and showcase the music of Elton John. Photo Courtesy Modesto Symphony Orchestra

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra (MSO) presents Picnic at the Pops: The Music of Elton John starring Michael Cavanaugh with the Modesto Symphony on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Held on the grounds of the E. & J. Gallo Winery, this family-friendly event attracts thousands of guests from Modesto and the neighboring communities for an evening of music, dancing, and fun beneath the stars. This will be the first presentation of the community-favorite concert since 2019.

“To say we are thrilled to bring back Picnic at the Pops is an understatement,” said Caroline Nickel, President and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association. “This concert is our largest of the season, our biggest fundraiser of the year, and has truly become a community tradition. From seeing family and friends enjoying their picnics to seeing everyone’s faces light up as the stage lights come on and the orchestra perform – it’s something we’ve missed dearly and are so excited to have Picnic at the Pops again.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket, pack a picnic, and enjoy all that the space has to offer. Outside alcohol is prohibited; wine and an assortment of beverages are available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting the MSO. For those not looking to pack their own picnic, patrons may pre-order meals from The Village Butcher or purchase food on-site from local food trucks and vendors. Full details on food offerings will be available at the website at

Grounds will open at 5 p.m. with the concert starting at 7:30 p.m., with Ryan Murray as conductor and Michael Cavanaugh as guest artist. The E. & J. Gallo Winery Grounds are at 600 Yosemite Blvd., Modesto. Tickets are $45 for adults and $12 for youths for General Lawn Seating; the Reserved Lawn Seating tickets are $75 for adults and $20 for youths.

Groups of 10 or more save 20 percent on General Lawn Adult tickets; the Youth prices are for ages 4 through 17, those ages 3 and under are free.

Tickets are available online through or through the Gallo Center for the Arts Ticket Office at (209) 338-2100.

Guest artist Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook and a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out. Handpicked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out, Cavanaugh evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. He appeared in the show for three years with over 1,200 performances and received multiple accolades. The show culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

His interpretation of the modern rock/pop songbook led to Billboard calling him “The New Voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook,” and he was recognized by Reuters as Entertainer of the Year for the private events market.