22nd M&M’s Pops Concert Scheduled

Oklahoma Baptist University’s 22nd Annual M&M’s Pops Concert will be presented Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27-28, at 7:30 p.m., in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The concert will feature the OBU Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Jim Hansford, professor of music and director of bands; and the Bison Jazz Orchestra, directed by Kevin Pruiett, assistant professor of music.

Dr. Jim Colman, OBU senior vice president for academic affairs, will serve as guest master of ceremonies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Colman to our stage this year,” said Hansford. “He will be our second guest since the retirement of longtime emcee William James Brown in 2003 after completing 20 years in the position. Last year Dr. Dan Reeder did a superb job of handling the emcee duties.”

The popular program will feature a patriotic emphasis and will include a collage of light concert fare including music from Broadway and film, featuring selections by the renowned film composer John Williams and longtime Broadway composer Richard Rogers. Also spotlighted this year will be a band work, Jericho (Revisited), featuring the narration of Colman and including some stage theatrics from the band.

“This work, written for the Chicago Salvation Army Staff Band by William Himes, was first performed on campus at the 1993 M&M’s Pops concert and simply brought the house down,” said Hansford.

U.S. military veterans will also be recognized through a performance of Bob Lowden’s “Armed Forces Salute”.

“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 Sousa march.”

The “Name That Tune” portion of the concert will center on the music of John Williams and Richard Rogers and, as in the past, candy will be awarded to the winners of the contest.

The second half of the concert will be presented by the OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra. Fifth-year director and trumpeter Pruiett will lead the group in several patriotic song selections.

“The Bison Jazz Orchestra will not only be performing patriotic numbers such as ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘God Bless the U.S.A.,,’” said Pruiett. “I have delved into the Glenn Miller library for a few other standards. While the Glenn Miller arrangements are not actually patriotic in content, the Glenn Miller Orchestra stands for everything great about America during the World War II era.”

Soloists featured on the program are Elise Anderson, Haskell Melton, Mike Morris, John Oxford, Jeremy Simmons, Joab Somerville, and Tim Thompson.

Cost of admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children six years and under, and no charge for babies. Each person receives a bag of either plain or peanut M&M’s candy to enjoy during the show. This year a larger bag of M&M’s will be included with the cost of the ticket, said Hansford.

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

Tickets to the concert can be reserved by calling 878-2305. Early reservations are encouraged.