Community the theme for Pops at Post
By Joanie Morris
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — The theme for this year’s Pops at the Post is the one word that best sums up what the event has become since its inception in 2005.
Between the program, the guests and the sponsors who have all come together each year to make the concert happen and make it a success, there’s really just one word it can be.
“The fact that the community rallied and agreed to sponsor it,” said Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz. “I think it says a lot about our community.”
The first year, the Pops at the Post was paid for by the Salisbury Post as part of the newspaper’s 100th anniversary. With the warm reception an outdoor symphony concert received the first time, organizers looked for a way to continue it. Each concert can cost between $40,000 and $50,000 to put together, according to Salisbury Symphony Executive Director Linda Jones.
Through sponsorships and in-kind donations, the Pops at the Post concert is free to the community. From tailgating in the Salisbury Post employee parking lot and free Cheerwine to what has become a day of fun and music, concert organizers have been pleased with the reception the event continues to receive.
“The biggest compliment they were paid is it started raining at one of the Pops concerts,” said Jones. Normally, if it’s an outdoor concert and rain comes, the audience leaves. “They just put their umbrellas up and kept on listening. (Symphony performers) were knocked out by the loyalty and enthusiasm of the audience.”
Jones recognizes the concert really is for the community.
“It’s people who may not normally come to a ‘classical’ music concert but they enjoy the music,” said Jones. She remembers a photo that was printed after one Pops concert of a couple hanging out in the cab of their truck listening to the music. “To feel comfortable enough to just hang out in the cab of their truck says it all to me. It’s a joy.”
And since Trinity Oaks is one of the sponsors of this year’s event, musicians will likely rehearse at the indoor location for the shut-ins who won’t be able to make the concert, said Jones. Another sense of community: pulling together more people who wouldn’t normally get to see a concert like this.
To bring the community together, Jones added that there will be a sing-along of “This Land is Your Land,” with lyrics displayed on a giant screen.
Kluttz added that no local taxpayer dollars are spent on the concert — only $3,500 from the hotel occupancy tax is given, as well as in-kind donations from the Police, Fire and Streets departments.
“I think this is one of the most important things that happens in Salisbury and I am very, very proud of it and thrilled with it,” said Kluttz. “I’m very grateful to everyone who has been involved in this, particularly the Salisbury Post and the initial idea. …
“We’re very proud of our Salisbury Symphony,” said Kluttz, who describes the symphony as a treasure, making Salisbury the envy of other communities. “When we had the idea that this should continue, I was actually amazed that the amount of money that it should cost was actually raised by the sponsors.”
The symphony concert at the Post will include vendors, a pre-event concert provided by the Salisbury Swing Band and of course, free Cheerwine and Diet Cheerwine.
“I appreciate that this is a family event and it does expose children to the arts,” said Kluttz. “It does encourage families to be together.”
Salisbury Post Publisher Greg Anderson said the Post is pleased to be a part of the concert.
“It’s an event that is supported by the community,” said Anderson. “We provide the venue, kind of a unique setting, on our back docks. … The community shows up and the concert gets better every year.”
Anderson is amazed that even in tough economic times, the community has still supported Pops at the Post as well as it has.
“I don’t see it slowing down,” he added. Anderson serves on a committee that meets monthly throughout the year to make sure the concert goes off without a hitch.
“We’re blessed to have wonderful sponsors, community support, very capable event organizers on our board and a great symphony orchestra,” Anderson said.
Anderson, Kluttz and Jones agree. They wouldn’t miss the concert for anything. Walking around, mingling, getting good food and free Cheerwine are only part of the benefits.
They also get to spend time with community.
Family. Friends. Neighbors.
Joanie Morris is a freelance writer. She can be reached at 704-797-4248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.