What Is A Pops Orchestra?


Image courtesy of http://www.northshorepops.org/If you’ve attended orchestral performances or listened to classical music for any length of time, you’ve probably seen the terms “philharmonic”, “symphony”, and “chamber” in the names of various organizations. “Pops” is another common term (as in the Boston Pops or the Denver Pops Orchestra). The first three are used to denote different sized groups. A chamber orchestra is the smallest while “symphony” and “philharmonic” typically refer to groups large enough to play the great symphonies. “Philharmonic” is also a proper name used to distinguish orchestras in the same city.

“Pops” is another story. It refers to the type of music played by the group.

What is a pops orchestra?

Simply put, it is an orchestra that plays popular music as well as well-known classical works. They are groups that perform lighter classics, American favorites, popular music, show tunes, and film music. Many feel they are an alternative to the “highbrow” orchestras since they aren’t afraid to let their hair down a little. Of course, we here at the Parker Symphony aren’t afraid to let our hair down at times even though we don’t have the “pops” moniker.

Examples of pops orchestras

Examples include the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Denver Pops Orchestra (as mentioned before) as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the American Pops Orchestra, and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. These groups tend to have friendly relationships with the traditional professional orchestra in their city, often sharing members (although typically not the first chair players).

What music does a pops orchestra perform?

On the classical side, you may hear Strauss waltzes and polkas, overtures from composers like Rossini, Mozart, and von Suppé, and a movement or two from a famous Beethoven or Mozart symphony. On the popular side, you might hear the music of an iconic band like The Beatles, the music from a hit Broadway show like Hamilton, and movie themes from composers like John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, and Thomas Newman.

Pops Orchestras vs. Pops Concerts

Interestingly, critics of pops orchestras suggest that the fact that they are separate organizations has removed some of these more famous classics from traditional symphony orchestras’ repertoire which has hurt attendance. They tend to “remove some music whose principal reason for existence is pure entertainment”.

To answer this, traditional orchestras have been putting on more programs in the style of pops orchestras. Philharmonic orchestras and symphony orchestras have always occasionally played a pops concert here or there, but more recently, these organizations have found success in themed concerts and even playing a film score alongside the movie.

Even we here at the Parker Symphony perform pops concerts to help draw in new and different audiences. For example, our 2016 “PSO Goes To The Movies” concert included single movements from symphonies and short classics featured in films.

The Future Of Pops

Pops orchestras and concerts will probably always have a place. After all, to quote the New York Philharmonic’s vice president of artistic planning, “Not every subscription concert, week in and week out, should be so deadly serious.” Whether pops plays more or less of a role in the future is hard to say. For now, those who want to hear serious performances, there are always programs available featuring masterful concertos, full symphonies, and choral works. For those who are looking for lighter entertainment, check out the various pops orchestras and concerts in your area.


Classical Music Crossword Puzzle



Challenge yourself (or pass the time) with our classical music crossword puzzle.

Classical Music Crossword Puzzle

Across
2. J.S. ____
4. Richard or Johann
6. French for “study”
9. Yo-Yo Ma’s instrument
11. Percussion with keys arranged like a piano
15. 18th century ballroom dance in 3
16. Itzhak _______
17. Pizzicato abbreviation
18. “The Planets” composer
21. Liszt’s nationality
23. Lowest string instrument
26. Many woodwinds need 1 or 2
27. “The Trout ____” – Schubert
30. Loud
31. City where Mozart is buried
32. Device that supports strings
33. Moderately slow tempo
34. All together

Down
1. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony Nickname
3. Composer of 106 symphonies
5. Flared part of many brass instruments
7. Toccata & _____
8. Mozart’s and Verdi’s are famous
9. Dvorak’s nationality
10. Opening to opera, ballet, etc.
12. Appalachian Spring composer
13. Chopin composed primarily for the…
14. A conductor’s stick
19. Musical era from 1600-1750
20. Also called Kettle Drums
22. Composition inspired by night
24. A lullaby often in 6/8 time
25. Famous Italian violin maker
28. Brass instrument with a slide
29. In The Hall Of The Mountain ____

Printing Instructions

  • Right click on the image and choose Save. Save to your computer.
  • Open in any image program
  • Change your print settings to print “Landscape”
  • Print

or

  • Right click on the image and choose Copy (or Copy Image)
  • Open Microsoft Word and a new blank document
  • Change the Layout to Landscape
  • Click on the document and hit CTRL and V at the same time
  • Print

 

10 Reasons To Join An Orchestra

 

Small version of Parker Symphony Orchestra - all members

Do any small amount of searching in Google for phrases like “why join an orchestra” and you’ll start to notice that most articles cover reasons to play with a school music group. But what about reasons to join your local community orchestra?

Many groups are on the lookout for new members, so there’s no shortage of opportunity out there. However, there is also no shortage of reasons why you, as an adult, should audition for a local group like the Parker Symphony.

Here are just 10 of the many compelling reasons to join a local symphony orchestra.

  1. Meet New People: Whether you’re new to an area or a longtime resident, you’re bound to meet new people when you join your community orchestra and the best part is that these people share a common interest – a love for playing music. Some may be music professionals like performers and educators. Others may be amateurs with non-music day jobs. But all come together to practice and perform the thing that they love. You’ll not only be able to socialize with others who can relate to your love of classical music, but you may form new friendships and find new contacts who can help you in other areas of your life (career, for example).
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  3. Build Up Confidence: If you haven’t been an active performer in a while, but still have the dedication and talent, playing in an orchestra can help give you that confidence to perform again – especially if you play in a section with others. Maybe you can still play the pieces you know well, but your sight-reading skills are a little rusty. Or perhaps you are used to playing as a soloist so you aren’t sure of your ability to follow a conductor or listen and adjust to other players. No matter the reason, a community orchestra offers a venue for you to re-establish yourself as a group performer.
  4.  

  5. Express Yourself!: This almost goes without saying. Music in any genre is a form of self-expression. Community orchestras are an excellent creative outlet for adults.
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  7. Escape the Day-to-Day: Life is full of daily stresses. Work, family, bills, and other responsibilities can take their toll. Playing in an orchestra, on the other hand, requires a great deal of focus. For that reason, rehearsals and concerts can be a great way to divert your attention away from day-to-day troubles, stress, and to-do lists.
  8.  

  9. Challenge Yourself!: Just because members of community orchestras aren’t paid doesn’t mean they play easy pieces. Sure, we’ve all played our fair share of parts that require little to no practice, but for each of those, there are many Beethoven pieces or John Williams scores that we spend hours on. And don’t forget about the occasional solo you may encounter.
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  11. Maintain (or increase) Coordination: As we age, our motor skills tend to decline. Playing an instrument can help maintain or even increase coordination including fine motor skills.
  12.  

  13. Inspire Others: Symphony orchestra concerts are a source of inspiration for the surrounding community. Audiences range from children to seniors and from young to young-at-heart. Students who attend may be inspired to pick up an instrument and join their school band or orchestra. Other adults may decide to audition for your group or listen to more classical music. Some orchestras also put on special programs like free children’s concerts specifically designed to educate and inspire.
  14.  

  15. Improve Your Résumé: Are you looking to advance your career? Are you early in your career path and looking to beef up your résumé? Listing that you perform with a community orchestra can not only catch employers’ eyes, but also gives you something to point to when asked about teamwork, dedication, working well with others, and self-improvement.
  16.  

  17. Keep Your Mind Active: In addition to helping with coordination, playing music with an orchestra can help keep your mind active. Not only are you perhaps learning new things, you are literally giving your brain a workout. Performing with an orchestra is an intellectually demanding exercise and the proof of that is how mentally exhausted, but satisfied you feel after a good rehearsal.
  18.  

  19. Have Fun!: Last, but definitely not least, joining a community orchestra is a great way to have fun. Unlike professional groups that are highly competitive (for a good reason), local community symphonies are often made up of people who simply want to have fun doing something they love.

 

Are you looking for a fun community orchestra to join in the Denver metro area? Check out the Parker Symphony. We hold typically hold auditions in August and ad hoc throughout the rest of the year. See our Auditions page for more information.

 

What is Ballot Issue 4B? What is SCFD?

 

Vote Yes on Colorado 4B and SCFD If you’re like me and you read about 4B in the Analysis of the 2016 Ballot Proposals booklet, you’re now totally confused about what it is and what SCFD does. You may have seen the Yes on 4B yard signs – the ones with the polar bear. You may even have seen Popsicle the SCFD polar bear mascot walking around town.

But all of that doesn’t mean much if you can’t translate the legal jargon from the booklet. So here’s a quick rundown of what SCFD and Colorado 4B really are and why they are so critical this election. In other words, why you should absolutely vote YES on 4B.

What is SCFD?

SCFD stands for Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. It is funded by a sales tax of one cent on every $10. It is currently in its 28th year.

Where does the money go?

SCFD supports museums like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Children’s Museum, the Denver Zoo, orchestras like the Parker Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Ballet, and other educational, scientific, and visual and performing arts programs throughout Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties. If you’ve been to any of these, you’ve benefited from SCFD. Attended an orchestra concert or an opera performance? That was funded at least in part by SCFD. Took the family to a Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park or the Denver Art Museum? That was made possible by SCFD. And all for only 1 penny of every $10 you spend!

Counties served by SCFD

What is 4B?

The sales tax of 1 cent on every $10 to fund SCFD is set to expire in 2018. A vote of YES on ballot issue 4B will reauthorize the funds until 2030 and residents of the 7 counties can continue to experience amazing programs and events for years to come – sometimes for free. A vote of Yes will be a vote to continue to bring culture to all.

Why is Yes on SCFD so important?

SCFD helps organizations in the Denver metro area continue to provide educational and cultural programs to everyone. From Free Days to field trips to special events and exhibits, organizations large and small, SCFD brings culture to all.

It has helped the Parker Symphony purchase instruments, rent and purchase sheet music for concerts like our Music of John Williams performance, and bring in special soloists and performers.

SCFD also generates $1.8 billion annually in economic activity and $520 million in tourism and creates 10,731 jobs. It has served 4.5 million students and 14 million guests.

It has elevated the Denver metro area to a world‐class cultural center with 95% growth in attendance since the district began.

Please vote YES on 4B on November 8 and help us keep the music playing! Learn more at Yes on SCFD.

Rene Conducting the Parker Symphony Orchestra

 

What Is A Symphony?

Parker Symphony Orchestra

Even if you’re not a classical music fan, you’ve probably heard a symphony or two. You may not know the names or composers, but symphonies have been featured in everything from commercials to cartoons and they are a staple in classical music.

The Symphony Defined

There are two ways to define symphony. One definition refers to a symphony orchestra, a group of musicians who perform symphonies among other works. If a friend says, “I went to the symphony last night,” they mean they went to hear an orchestra.

A symphony is also a musical work, and a great one at that. It has multiple parts called movements separated by a brief pause. The audience does not applaud between movements. One basic format is a brisk and lively first movement followed by a slow and lyrical second movement, a dancing third movement, and a virtuosic finale. There are many variations on this, however. The form has been around for more than 300 years, but it has evolved greatly over the centuries. While symphonies in the 1700’s held to a more standardized format, those of the 1800’s and beyond began to include non-traditional elements like soloists and choruses. They can also vary in the number movements. Many symphonies have 4 movements. Some have 3.

The Symphony Today

What does all of this mean for you, the listener? It means that symphonies offer something for everyone. They have a variety of tempos and styles that naturally keep you engaged. In just one piece, you can be whipped into a frenzy by a robust motif, whisked away by a lyrical melody, and inspired and amazed by a grand theme. Symphonies are actually a journey. Like a book with chapters or a play with acts, the symphony takes you through very different parts that all combine to create a satisfying whole.

Symphonies are also incredibly listenable. They offer a way to escape the everyday. They evoke images and inspire emotions. They reveal the depths of the composers’ musical thinking without telling you what to think. They give you the freedom the feel and think whatever you want based on what you are hearing.

Examples Of Great Symphonies

Since the 18th century, many composers, certainly most of the famous names, have written at least one symphony. Beethoven, Schubert, and Dvorak wrote 9. Haydn wrote no fewer than 107. Below is a list of some well-known and beloved works.

Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 (‘From The New World’)

Beethoven – Symphony No. 5

Mozart – Symphony No. 25

Mendelssohn – Symphony No. 4 (‘Italian’)

Brahms – Symphony No. 4

Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 (‘Choral’)

Franck – Symphony in D Minor

Saint Saëns – Symphony No. 3 (‘Organ’)

Haydn – Symphony No. 94 (‘Surprise’)

Schubert – Symphony No. 8 (‘Unfinished’)