Orchestra prepares for “Celebración Cultural Hispana”

Allie Zyck, Editor-in-Chief

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When most students think of an orchestra concert, they likely imagine formal event full of classical music, but the yearly Pops concert is a chance to challenge those misconceptions. The annual performance features lively music, a live auction and food, kicking off the start to the music program’s concert season. This year, the show is called “Celebración Cultural Hispana,” celebrating the Hispanic culture through music and will take place at BG on Nov. 2 at 7:00 pm.

The Pops concert has been a tradition at BG since the late 70s, with this year being the 41st anniversary. This concert has traditionally been the first time of the year when all three programs: orchestra, band and choir, perform together. It also serves as a fundraiser for orchestra, which provides funds to pay for expenses like guest conductors, field trips and music arrangements.

The majority of the planning for the concert is the work of Orchestra director Elizabeth Bennet. Despite mainly being an orchestra concert, the vocal jazz group and the jazz ensemble perform as well.

“It gives the audience variety and it lets us take a break because there’s quite a lot of pieces that we’re performing, so it’s nice to have a little bit of an intermission for us,” sophomore Kirsti Smith said. “It’s also nice because the last song we play is usually all of us together, which brings a powerful feeling to the concert.”

Although the concert is an annual event, each year is different due to the unique theme. Bennet brainstorms and decides on a theme throughout the school year, being careful to keep it a secret. Then, during the first few days of each school year, she announces the theme, which guides the tone and events of the evening.

“The theme in general is something that differentiates the concert from past years,” senior Corey Lieu said. “I’ve been in orchestra for four years, and every single time the atmosphere when we rehearse and when we play is dramatically different.”

This year, the theme was chosen because the concert takes place on the last day of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos. Due to the theme, many Hispanic cultural elements have been incorporated into the concert. The show features various styles of Hispanic music and the students will be joined by a professional Mariachi band for one song. Additionally, students from the LASO club will introduce each of the songs in both English and Spanish and the programs for the night have been translated into Spanish as well by BG teachers. 

“I’ve really enjoyed learning about the cultural elements behind the music and what creates the music that we’re performing,” Bennet said. “The music is really fun, so putting it all together is really awesome. It’s going to be a really bright and colorful concert.”

Traditionally, orchestra concerts are regarded as a formal events, but the Pops concert strikes a different tone. Along with the music, food is being served and a live auction is taking place during the performance, encouraging the audience to enjoy the activities while they’re listening. When combined with the less formal music, this all adds up to an evening with a more casual and relaxed atmosphere.

“It’s a little bit different because people aren’t completely silent while we’re playing,” Smith said. “I’d say it’s nice to have it more relaxed.”

As the concert draws closer, the different music groups are putting the finishing touches on the show. Before the performance, the three levels of orchestra practice together, along with a few big group rehearsals combining all three music programs. The night before the show is one last rehearsal where they set up and get ready for the big night.

“It’s a really fun time because we feel like we’re super ready and we’ve done our work,” Lieu said. “The last week is more polishing things up and getting the last bits together as a group,” Lieu said.

The annual Pops concert provides an opportunity to introduce the community to the BG music program. With this year’s theme, the orchestra hopes to educate the audience about the vibrant Hispanic culture.

“For some of our population, this is brand new information. They don’t know anything about this music or about this culture,” Bennet said. “For other members of our population, this is their culture and is their music, and they can help teach it.”

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