The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra's season came to a close Saturday night in a glittering celebration of popular song.

"Pops in the Park" at the Sheraton Tysons Corner featured local singers Gordon Hawkins, Chrissellene Petropolous and Nancy Perry Merritt.

The performers sang show tunes by George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein, among others.

The ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel became a picnic ground replete with gaslights in the aisles and geraniums on the tables for dinner before the concert.

Radio personality Tom Gauger doubled as master of ceremony and soloist, playing a Smith-Corona in Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter."

The musicians adapted well to the pops idiom, particularly in accompanying the singers.

But the concert suffered from a lopsided program.

In songs from musicals, which were initially scored for large ensemble, the symphony excelled, painting a lush background for the singers to work out the details.

The instrumental arrangements of the more modern songs, however, did not hold up.

Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" lost its soul in transition to an inflated and impersonal orchestral piece.

And the Beatles medley moved too quickly from the touching "Eleanor Rigby" to the overly nostalgic "Yesterday."

Gordon Hawkins, one of the area's rising stars, provided the most captivating moment of the evening with his show-stopping rendition of "Some Enchanted Evening."

His increasingly rich voice was powerful in an appropriately carefree interpretation of "I Got Plenty of Nothin' " from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."

Chrissellene Petropolous' shining moment came during her performance of "Somewhere" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story."

Accompanied only by pianist Kim Kluge, she captured the essential tragedy of the timeless story of forbidden love.

Nancy Peery Marriott's zestful singing of selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals was marred by not using the microphones properly, resulting in a barely audible performance.

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will perform July 28 at Wolf Trap Farm Park with composer-performer Marvin Hamlisch.

The orchestra also is scheduled to appear at the Orkney Springs Festival for two pairs of concerts beginning in late July.

Both concerts will feature Petropolous. On July 24 and 25, she will sing popular songs.

She will devote the following weekend to an operatic repertoire.