Pops program plays on anniversary theme

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By Katie Scarvey
This year’s Pops at the Post concert will honor the past and the future — but will focus on the past, says symphony director David Hagy.
Most of the pieces will mark anniversaries of 200, 100 or 50 years, including the integration of the downtown Capitol Theatre.
“That was a major cultural, societal step for Salisbury,” and well worth celebrating, Hagy says.
Hagy always plans the popular summer event to reflect the community, with local performers and local themes.
“I just really want those people we honor to be from around here,” he says. “It gives everybody such a sense of ownership of this concert.”
Opening the concert will be “The Star-Spangled Banner” by John Williams —featuring cannons, always a welcome addition.
1712, PDQ Bach: The program then takes a decidedly quirky turn with an unusual piece by PDQ Bach, the “1712 Overture” — a comedic takeoff on the 1812 Overture.
PDQ Bach is a fictitious composer, the creation of musical satirist Peter Schickele.
Expect the unexpected: balloons popping, duck calls and the strains of a Beatles song. The piece went over like gangbusters at the last regular concert of the symphony season.
“The audience just loved it,” Hagy said. “It’s going to be fun.”
1812, ‘Saints’: Also being offered is “Saints,” a salute to Louisiana’s statehood in 1812. The medley will include “St. Louis Blues,” “When the Saints go Marching In” and “St. James Infirmary Blues — which will be familiar to people, even if they don’t recognize the name, Hagy says.
That piece will offer a chance for soloists to shine, including Rich Graham on clarinet, Jay Meachum on trumpet and Chris Ferguson on trombone.
1862, Huck: Selections from Billy Burke’s “Huck Finn” will also be performed. Dealing with issues of slavery, that piece will represent 1862, Hagy said, “and give us a chance to honor Billy Burke at age 93.”
1912, the Titanic: Another featured local musician is Teresa Moore-Mitchell, who will be singing the them from the movie “Titanic,” a piece that marks the anniversary of the sinking of the ocean liner in 1912.
Salute to veterans: The program will then jump to a 70-year anniversary, with “The Midway March” honoring all veterans from Salisbury and Rowan County, as well as several community leaders from Salisbury who have died in the last year, including Wilson Smith, Jimmy Hurley, Paul Bernhardt (all veterans) and Rose Post.
1962 classics: Then, a Beach Boys medley will take everyone back to a mellow, sun-kissed 1962, with “Good Vibrations,” “I Get Around” and “California Girls.”
The next piece on the program is in limbo — but Hagy hopes it will be Elmer Bern-stein’s “To Kill a Mocking-bird,” from the 1962 movie.
Hagy points out that 1962 was also the year the Capitol Theatre in Salisbury was integrated.
Bernstein died last year and it’s still unclear whether the estate will be able to allow the Salisbury Symphony to perform the piece.
If that doesn’t work out, Hagy says they’ll choose something from another 1962 movie, like “76 Trombones” or “The Music Man.”
High school singers: Also commemorating the Capitol Theatre integration will be a performance featuring Rowan County high school students singing “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” a song from “Hairspray” that’s about the integration of Baltimore.
To the future: The first half of the concert will end with “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” a nod to this year’s summer Olympics taking place in London.
Part two
Choir: After intermission, the Ecumenical Choir will return to sing a medley of “Lean on Me” and “We Shall Overcome.”
1812 Overture: The final numbers will be familiar to those who’ve attended past Pops concerts: “The 1812 Overture,” “The (Salisbury) Post March” and the rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa.
Encores: There will be two encores, Hagy says, the last of which will be “America the Beautiful.” The other is yet to be determined, but maybe, just maybe it might have something to do with the future? Or a video game? Stay tuned.