Pops to play movie tunes and more at Music Memory concert
The Prescott Pops Symphony entered a new era this year by planning year-round concerts, and next week another event marks a new chapter for the community orchestra.
The Pops will perform a special concert at Tim's Toyota Center beginning 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
The concert is free for students, and there are seats available for the general public, from whom the Pops requests a $5 donation.
Selections of the program feature highlights from concerts of the past two years, including soundtrack compositions from "Star Wars" films, "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Variations on the Shaker Melody" by Aaron Copland, Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," and a Beach Boys medley.
The Pops started about 17 years under the name of the Prescott Summer Pops, performing two summer concerts. The group expanded the program this year with a new board, performing four concerts a year, and getting involved in the Music Memory Program, part of the Prescott Symphony Guild's outreach program to community youth.
The concert marks the first time performance for the Pops at the Tim's Center, and the first time for them playing the annual Music Memory concert, usually performed by the Yavapai College orchestra or the Phoenix Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Students from throughout Yavapai County usually attend the concerts, said Pops founding conductor and music director, Paul Manz.
"We're very excited about it. There's a lot of people playing especially because of this concert," Manz said.
The annual Music Memory concert follows a series of music mentors who visit area schools, talking to third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students around the county.
"We used to reach about 3,000, and this year it's going to be about 3,700," said volunteer public relations person, Dana Wingate, who visited classes this week and last.
"We teach from these little booklets. We've got a CD, and there are three to four small sections of music that take 3 to 4 minutes each to play, and we meet with the kids three or four times prior to these big concerts," he said of the program's volunteer mentors, which number around 40.
Wingate said instructors go over the music of the CDs with students, discussing the instruments in the compositions, what to listen for, and proper etiquette in a concert hall.
Until now, organizers have divided the annual Music Memory concert into a succession of performances in Yavapai College Performance Hall.
Last year, the Pops received grant money from the National Endowment of the Arts through the Arizona Commission of the Arts, the Prescott Arts and Humanities Council, and the Acker Trust for the Pops to provide scholarships to young musicians in the orchestra.
The Yavapai Symphony Association gave $5,000 to cover ancillary costs of the upcoming concert, Guild President Carol Friedman said.
Julie Dalton, Pops immediate past president and French horn player with the orchestra since 1997, said attendance for the Pops concerts started to take off in 2005, selling out their first show in 2006.
"If you compare our audience attendance from the very beginning, we've increased about 300 percent over the last 15 years," she said.
The orchestra currently has about 65 musicians, including five public school student members, Manz said.