BOSTON (AP) — The force is strong with the Boston Pops in 2016.
The beloved orchestra announced its spring concert schedule on Friday, and it's a star-studded lineup.
Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer John Williams, who wrote the score for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," will help Pops conductor Keith Lockhart lead a performance of selections from the hit movie's soundtrack.
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, a baritone crooner on the side, also will perform during the spring season, which kicks off May 6 and runs through June 18. So will the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, guitarist Tom Scholz of the band Boston, and Broadway star Sutton Foster.
"We couldn't be happier with the terrific lineup of guest artists joining us for the 2016 Boston Pops season," Lockhart told The Associated Press. "I can't remember a more diverse season with such great potential, both to please our loyal audiences and reach out and entice music lovers of all ages."
Williams, the Pops' conductor laureate, was the force behind the music for all seven "Star Wars" films. He'll take the baton on May 12-13 for the Pops' Film Night appearances, which will screen clips from those movies as well as other film classics Williams wrote music for: "Jaws," the "Indiana Jones" movies and the "Harry Potter" series.
On June 4, Lockhart — now in his 21st season as conductor of the group nicknamed "America's Orchestra" — will take the stage for a performance of Williams' entire score from the 1981 blockbuster film "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
The Pops also will pay tribute to rock legends David Bowie and Eagles frontman Glenn Frey, who both died last month, in "Beatles to Led Zeppelin" concerts on May 10-11 featuring Scholz and devoted to classic rock.
For the first time, the orchestra is teaming up with the University of Connecticut's popular puppet arts program — whose graduates have created marionettes for "The Lion King" and "The Muppets" — for a May 21 concert dubbed "Puppets with the Pops."
MacFarlane kicks off the spring season with a May 6 presentation of American classics from the 1940s and '50s. Wilson closes it out June 17-18 with a 50th anniversary performance of hits from 1966's "Pet Sounds," widely considered one of the Beach Boys' best albums.
Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/william-j-kole