By Joe Cotten, PSO Board | June 4, 2021 – REVISED RE-RELEASE
For well over 26 years the Pops has entertained area audiences with live performances of popular and light classical music while growing in professional stature and capability and serving as a strong advocate and supporter of musical programs in our schools. Sold out concerts and generous support from our audience and donors demonstrate the importance of music to the community. With this level of enthusiasm as a basis the orchestra is moving toward an expanded musical program capitalizing on the success of the Pops and adding ensembles performing in the classical and jazz genres.
We are introducing a new name, The Prescott Symphony Orchestra, to more adequately represent our expanded scope and to provide an umbrella for several specialty ensembles. Such an organization, following the template in use by many world class orchestras, allows for economies of scale in operating expense, fund raising, support and volunteer staff while increasing the performance opportunities for our local musicians. The Prescott Symphony Orchestra will initially comprise three areas of emphasis.
The Prescott Pops will continue to be the flagship organization. It will continue to offer the same popular and light classical repertoire that local audiences have enjoyed throughout its 26 year history. Under normal circumstances (post Covid-19 pandemic) we plan to continue to present five or more concerts including Summer, Fall and Winter schedules with dates corresponding to popular holidays like July 4, Christmas and St. Valentines Day and program themes to celebrate the season.
Under the umbrella of the Prescott Symphony Orchestra, the Prescott Chamber Orchestra strives to recreate the experiences of the early days in the evolution of the classical style when instrumental groups tended to be small and the performance venues more intimate. This was a time when there were no large concert halls and performances were generally held in churches and small castle halls. With this orchestra we are planning to present up to three concerts during the 2022-2023 season that will feature lesser known works of those earlier times and offer an alternative to some of the contemporary works offered by the larger orchestras. Once the programs are fully developed, we expect to offer flexible season ticketing options to allow the audience to maximize its enjoyment of both popular and classical music.
The third leg of the organization is the Prescott Symphony Educational Outreach program. Throughout its lifetime Pops has dedicated its financial resources from ticket sales and donations to benefit the youth of our community. Each year we have provided monetary scholarships to promising student musicians as well as opportunities to perform as members of the orchestra. Grants to schools have covered the costs of instruments and instrument repair and other incidentals associated with their music programs. The annual Music Memory program brings over 2000 elementary school students together for a special concert after having been introduced to the orchestra and the music through carefully designed classroom instruction.
Later this year under the auspices of the Prescott Symphony Educational Outreach program, we will launch The Prescott Youth Symphony as an extracurricular program for beginning and intermediate students throughout Yavapai County. This program will focus initially on the development of string players to supplement the marching band classes of many of the schools. The ultimate goal of this program is to establish a mechanism whereby talented students can progress up to performances with the Pops and Chamber Orchestra as they gain experience.
Finally, to underscore the importance of reaching these goals, Joseph Place, Executive Director/Conductor of the Pops, has accepted the full time position of Executive Director of the Prescott Symphony Orchestra. In addition to maintaining his previous responsibilities, Maestro Place will focus his considerable leadership skills on further developing the quality of each of the ensembles in the group.
Pops has been very fortunate to enjoy a generous level of financial support from our ticket holders and donors, including corporate sponsors. We have lofty goals for the future but our experience to date shows that we have an excellent chance for success. We invite all of the community to participate in this success. Donations can be made through our website at PrescottSymphony.com The Prescott Symphony Orchestra is a 501 c3 organization.