23rd M & M’s Pops Concert Oct. 26-27

Oklahoma Baptist University’s 23nd Annual M&M’s Pops Concert will be presented Thursday and Friday, Oct. 26-27, at 7:30 p.m., in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.

The concert will feature the OBU Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Jim Hansford, Burton Patterson professor of music and director of bands; and the Bison Jazz Orchestra, directed by Kevin Pruiett, assistant professor of music.

Dale Griffin, OBU campus minister, will serve as guest master of ceremonies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dale to our stage this year,” said Hansford. “He is a former member of the Symphonic Band and a fine musician in his own right. He will be our third guest since the 2003 retirement of longtime emcee William James Brown, who retired after 20 years in this position.”

The popular program will feature film music from a recent blockbuster movie, a salute to the 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland, a reflective arrangement of popular tunes from the early 20th century and a march from a 1954 popular British film.

Pruiett will be spotlighted in a trumpet solo with the Symphonic Band. He will be playing the third movement, “Allegro Vivace,” from “Concerto for Trumpet” by Warren Barker.

“This work was originally written for the famous Canadian trumpet artist, Bobby Herriot, and this third movement is in a jazz style,” said Hansford. “It is destined to be a crowd pleaser and will give Mr. Pruiett an opportunity to demonstrate his superb skills as a trumpet artist.”

Other Symphonic band selections will include “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” by Harry Gregson-Williams; “Themes Like Old Times II” arranged by Warren Barker; “The Dam Busters March” by Eric Coates, arranged by Douglas Wagner; and “A Disneyland Celebration” arranged by Michael Brown. The Disneyland work will highlight famous Disney tunes such as “It’s a Small World,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Be Our Guest,” “Fantasmic!” and “Mickey Mouse March.”

The “Name That Tune” portion of the concert will center on music from the 1910-20 era, featuring popular composers such as George Gershwin and Harry DeCosta. As in the past, candy will be awarded to winners of the contest.

“This pops concert is a favorite event with many families who have small children because of its relaxed atmosphere,” said Hansford. “It is a good way to introduce youngsters to public concerts without being on pins and needles worrying that the child might speak out or disturb. Actually, we will have them in the aisles marching around the room as the band plays a famous march.”

The second half of the concert will be presented by the OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra. Pruiett, in his sixth year as the BJO director, will lead the group in musical selections including a wide variety of jazz big band styles. Tunes performed will include “Angel Eyes,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “Groove Merchant.”

Micah McCaslin, a freshman from Midwest City, Okla., will make her debut with the jazz orchestra, singing two arrangements, “God Bless the Child,” made famous by Billie Holiday, and “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” arranged by Mark Taylor.

Other soloists featured on the program are Tim Thompson, trombone; Sarah Rizzo, alto saxophone; and Mandy Spicer, piano.

Admission is $5 for adults, and each person receives a bag of either peanut or plain M & M’s candy to enjoy during the concert. Public school and university student tickets are $3. Children six years and under are admitted for $1 and there is no charge for babies. To inquire about special group rates call 878-2307. This year a larger bag of M & M’s will be included with the cost of the ticket.

“We try to cater to families and we encourage parents to bring the youngsters,” Hansford said. “In fact, it can serve as a kind of laboratory to teach concert etiquette to young people.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door or at OBU’s Fine Arts office in Raley Chapel, the Band Office (Room 104, Raley Chapel), the Geiger Center on campus, and at Lasting Impressions in MacArthur Park in Shawnee. For additional information call 878-2305 or 878-2307.