October 12, 2009
A gala celebration with a visit to the "Land of Oz" is planned for the 26th Annual M&M's Pops Concert on Bison Hill Thursday and Friday, Oct. 22-23, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium. The community is invited to attend the festive concert which begins at 7:30 p.m.
The event will feature the OBU Symphonic Band under the direction of Dr. Jim Hansford, Burton Patterson professor of music and director of bands since 1990, and the Bison Jazz Orchestra under the ninth-year direction of Dr. Kevin Pruiett, associate professor of music. Serving as Master of Ceremonies for the fourth year will be Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life.
Dr. Kevin Pruiett (left) and Dr. Jim Hansford prepare for the 26th Annual M&M's Pops Concert.
"Griffin is a former member of the Symphonic Band and a fine musician in his own right," Hansford said. "Dale always adds a special flair to our program, and we welcome him back to our stage this year."
Dr. Ron Howell inaugurated the pops concert in 1983 to boost the band's budget and help defray the cost of touring. From its beginning, the concert has featured both the concert and jazz ensembles with an emcee in charge. The idea of a concert focused on light musical fare - including music from Broadway, films, a variety of fine marches, and some novelty numbers or music created for its humor or entertainment value - has become one of the most popular concerts on campus.
"Although we have occasionally included a unique musical work of a more serious nature on the concert, the band members, students and audience alike enjoy the relaxed, casual atmosphere of the ‘Pops' concert idea," Hansford said. "Many of those attending get hooked on the sonorous symphonic band sound and will come back to our formal spring concert in April."
This year's event will include an overture on the themes from the popular MGM classic motion picture, "The Wizard of Oz," by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, arranged by James Barnes. Six of the films' most popular musical themes have been uniquely arranged for the concert.
The program also includes "Salute to American Jazz" by Sammy Nestico. This work will present a medley of four great jazz tunes: "A Night in Tunisia," "St. Louis Blues," "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing," and "Birdland." Also included is "An American Fanfare" by Rick Kirby, "Bullets and Bayonets," a march by John Philip Sousa, and a patriotic salute to our military, "Armed Forces Salute," by Bob Lowden.
The second half of the concert will be presented by the OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra with musical selections including a wide range of jazz Big Band styles. The band will feature a number of talented soloists and vocalist Micah McCaslin Smith.
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 each. Children ages 6 years and under are admitted for $1, and there is no charge for infants. For special group rates, call (405) 878-2307.
Tickets to the concert can be purchased at the door. Advance tickets are available on campus in the Fine Arts office in Raley Chapel, the Band Office (Room 104, Raley Chapel), the Geiger Center, and at Lasting Impressions in MacArthur Park (2707 N. Market) in Shawnee.
For additional information call (405) 878-2305 or (405) 878-2307.