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Thu, April 18

POPS Chorus, orchestra team up for performance

PRESCOTT - The Prescott POPS Symphony is ready to put some "pop" into the holiday season with its "Merry Christmas & All That Jazz" concert.

"This going to be a super fun holiday extravaganza," said Paul Manz, music director and founder of the POPS, which performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Yavapai College Performance Hall.

The 50-member POPS Festival Chorus joins the 60-piece orchestra for a two-hour music extravaganza lead by Manz and conductors Darrell Rowader, Clydene Dechert, Joe Place and Richard Longfield, who is Manz' former music teacher.

"It's a thrill to bring him back to my orchestra," Manz said of Longfield.

The song list includes popular and traditional holiday songs, some Hanukkah songs, and a variety of music from "The Polar Express" to Mannheim Steamroller.

"We've got music for everyone from children to adults," Manz said.

A POPS concert usually combines a lighthearted atmosphere with top-notch orchestral and choir music, and the Prescott POPS is no exception. Audiences know Manz for his whimsical and comedic approach to concerts.

"Besides the music, we always include a healthy dose of bad jokes," he said before a previous concert.

For POPS fans, having the Festival Chorus perform adds icing to a musical cake.

"People go nuts for the Festival Chorus," said J.J. Serritella, a POPS board member. "They can't get enough of them."

The Prescott POPS Symphony incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1996 as the Prescott Summer POPS Symphony. In 2006, the board dropped "Summer" from its name and doubled its performance schedule from two summer concerts to four year-round concerts.

In addition to its performances and encouragement for musicians to play in the POPS, the board has donated nearly $20,000 for youth scholarships to area students.

"Christmas is a season for giving," wrote Gail Mangham. "So give a friend, a parent, a child or a stranger, the gift of music."

Tickets cost $20 for adults, and $5 for children 17 and younger. Tickets are available at the Yavapai College Performance Hall's box office on the Prescott campus, online at, or by calling 776-2000.

Tickets are sold at the door, but Manz said sales are brisk and may be sold out by the performance date.


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