The Kenosha Pops Concert Band — a Wednesday night fixture on the band shell during the summer months — is taking its show inside tonight for a “Symphonic Pops VI” performance in Carthage College’s Siebert Chapel.
Playing different types of music was the inspiration for the band’s indoor concerts, said Craig Gall, the band’s conductor.
“It gives us a chance to program pieces that will allow the band to ‘flex its musical muscle.’ Plus, getting the opportunity to play at the beautiful Siebert Chapel is never a bad thing.”
In honor of tonight’s special concert, the Pops Band has some special features planned:
Air conditioning! Even if the weather turns steamy, the band is performing in a cooled environment.
Organ! The band is taking advantage of its Carthage College location by featuring the chapel’s famous Fritsch Memorial Casavant Organ on “Alleluia! Laudamus Te” by Alfred Reed. “This is the big finish, with the chapel’s big organ,” Gall said.
Garrett Kornman! The band’s former assistant conductor — who moved to the Wausau area two years ago for a job in banking — is back tonight for his second annual guest appearance with the Pops. He’ll conduct three pieces and is the alto saxophone soloist on “Cinema Paradiso,” Ennio and Andrea Morricone’s theme to the 1988 Oscar-winning Italian film. “It’s great to be back in front of the band again,” Kornman said.
New pieces! The program features several tunes that are new to the Pops’ library: “La Peri” fanfare by Paul Dukas, who also composed “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”; “Ammerland” by Jacob de Haan, which is meant to invoke “this enchanting region of Germany,” Gall said; Leonard Bernstein’s “Mambo” from “West Side Story”; and John Philip Sousa’s “The Flashing Eyes of Andalusia.”
Roman numerals! The concert is called “Symphonic Pops VI,” using a numbering system normally reserved for Super Bowls and popes. It also reflects that these indoor concerts occur every few years.
Aaron Copland! Greg Berg — the band’s master of ceremonies — is the vocalist on Copland’s “Old American Songs,” featuring “Simple Gifts” and “Ching-A-Ring Chaw.” (Berg is also the organist tonight.)
Clare Grundman! The Pops favorite composed “Hebrides Suite,” which Kornman will conduct. The 1962 suite by Grundman is a collection of folk songs from the isles of the Hebrides, a group of more than 50 islands off the west coast of Scotland. “Grundman wrote so well for band,” Kornman said. “He really understood how each instrument sounded.”
Leroy Anderson! Another Pops favorite, the composer is represented here by the four-part “Alma Mater,” depicting scenes from campus life, including snoring in the library’s reading room and a “Freshman on Main Street,” complete with street sounds and clarinet soloist Chip Millholland.
Percussion! You’ll hear roaring percussion instruments on “Dragon Boat Festival” by Michael Boo.
Finland’s national composer! That would be Jean Sibelius, composer of “Finlandia.”
Another European composer! Julius Fucik, composer of “Florentiner March,” which Gall characterizes as “a Czech writing in the grand Italian march style.”
Opera! The concert features Handel’s “Song of Jupiter,” which is not about our solar system neighbor. The piece comes from the opera “Semele,” which debuted in 1744. In the story, Jupiter, king of the gods, takes the mortal Princess Semele to a secret hiding place on a mountain to be his mistress.
Tuxedos! The conductors will break out their formal wear tonight on the podium. (Black tie is not required for audience members.)
“Carthage College and the music department faculty have been exceedingly generous and cooperative in allowing us to use their incredible facility,” Gall said. “Their sponsorship of this concert is truly appreciated.”
Admission is free; donations will be accepted to be donated to the Carthage College music department’s scholarship fund.