Making its return to the performance stage for the first time since December 2019, the Maine Pops Concert Band has scheduled three public performances in the greater Portland area between November 21 and December 15.
"What better way to return to live performances than with a celebration of American music and resiliency!," said David Watts, Director of the Maine Pops."From jazz to pop to rock to movie soundtracks to Broadway with a march thrown in for good measure. I am proud of the Maine POPS organization and the community it has created and kept active throughout the pandemic. This concert has a simple dedication. In the words of the great composer and conductor Henry Fillmore, we are titling this concert Americans We, dedicated "To All of Us."
The first of these performances will be the band’s annual fall concert, slated for November 21 at St. Luke’s Cathedral at 143 State Street in Portland, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Under the direction of David Watts, the 60-member community concert band will perform eight compositions, including John Williams’ “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep,” a medley of hits from Benny Goodman, Bruno Mars, and the musical “Chicago,” and Toto’s “Africa.”
“The pandemic has been hard on wind players, first shutting down rehearsals and performances completely, and then requiring extra care to reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19,” said Bob Swerdlow, President of the Maine Pops. “Nonetheless, we are very excited to be returning to the stage and sharing our talents, even if it requires vaccination and other steps to keep everyone safe. This is a strong and caring community, and we could not be more proud to be playing together again.”
Admission to this concert is free to the public, but the band will accept donations to help with expenses, part of its recovery efforts following a 17-month in-person layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic. In compliance with St Luke’s health and safety requirements, the church will require concert attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and patrons will be asked to mask while inside St. Luke’s for the performance.
The Maine Pops will also perform two holiday benefit concerts in December. The band returns to St. Luke’s on Saturday, December 4 at 2:30 p.m. to perform, with attendance donations going to support St. Luke’s school in Duny, Haiti. It concludes its fall performance schedule on December 15, beginning 7:30 p.m. at the Mountainside Community Church, located at 18 Mountain Road in Falmouth. The Mountainside donations will use donations to purchase clothing and food, supplementing the church’s weekly donations to the homeless in Portland.
Established in 1988, the Maine Pops Concert Band is a non-profit community group that encourages musicians of all ages and abilities – from school age to senior citizens – to foster a life-long love of music, music history, performance, and heritage. The Maine Pops performed music during the pandemic, recording and releasing a virtual holiday concert in December of 2020. The band followed that concert with a series of recorded video compositions from February to June 2021. The band resumed in-person, outdoor rehearsals in July.
For more information about joining, contributing, or sponsoring the Maine Pops Concert Band, please visit www.mainepops.org.