For some fans of live music, the wait is almost over. The Kingwood Pops Orchestra (KPO), a local nonprofit, is making plans to present a free concert on Saturday, April 24 at Woodridge Baptist Church, located at 5707 Kingwood Drive. Performances will be held at 1 and 4 p.m.
The April concert will be the first time the orchestra has performed together in more than a year, and orchestra members are excited about the event. “Music is such a positive part of our lives, for both performer and patron,” said Susan Kite, who has been playing clarinet in the orchestra since 1994, KPO’s inaugural year. “It soothes us, brings joy and sparks inspiration. To be able to celebrate music together again is so exciting; we are hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!”
“The title of Duke Ellington’s great standard, ‘I’m Beginning to See the Light,’ provides the theme for our concert, which celebrates the stirrings of the arts community coming back to life,” said KPO’s conductor, Dr. Robert Hunt. “Our repertoire is familiar and upbeat, including such sing-along and clap-along favorites as ‘Gonna Fly Now,’ ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ and ‘Seventy-Six Trombones.’ An inspirational theme also runs through the program, represented by ‘Apollo 13,’ featuring trumpet soloist Luis Garcia, and ‘God Bless America,’ sung by our emcee, Hugh Poland. ‘The Sound of Music’ medley is a natural choice for a concert celebrating our emergence from a period with no live ‘sound of music.’ All of this will be presented in a short, 45-minute format that gives several Pops musicians a chance to shine individually, in alternation with featured sections of the orchestra, and the entire ensemble in all its sonic glory!” he said.
To ensure the safety of attendees, masks will be required at the concert, said Linda Forys, KPO’s president. Attendance at each performance will be limited to 500, but Forys expects to be able to accommodate all patrons. Tickets will be awarded on a first come, first served basis; doors will open 30 minutes prior to each concert.
“This has been a challenging year for the performing arts,” Forys said, noting that KPO’s board of directors has been working diligently to bring live music back to the community. In an effort to breach the unusual gap in continuity, KPO performed virtually in December, with musicians individually recording their own parts of the favorite Christmas medley “A Christmas Festival” in their homes. The parts were then synced to create a full orchestra. The orchestra’s virtual performance has garnered over 1,300 views on YouTube and orchestra members have accepted many compliments about the effort. One YouTube viewer wrote, “This was such an awesome virtual concert! Thank you so much! I don’t have much to say except WOW.”
“We have such loyal patrons,” Forys said. “We are hopeful that this concert will be the beginning of a new era, and that we can once again enjoy the magic of music together.”