REVIEW: Quarantine With Pops Orchestra

I really enjoyed this performance by the students of the Pops Orchestra! I was a bit confused by the bit in the beginning because the show started with the orchestra trying to make orchestral music over Zoom. Then the director shared his screen with a video of the orchestra playing, and it was great! Between each musical performance, they had the director reading a bedtime story to a Pixar character spoon. There were a couple of jokes throughout that I think either went over my head or did not translate over video. But I still really enjoyed the music very much. Each performance was a video taken with the students spread far apart and wearing masks (unless they played an instrument with a mouthpiece) in a large hall.

 

The pieces were comfortingly familiar, which was a welcome change from the fact that most orchestral performances I attend contain all unfamiliar tunes. The first piece, Crocodile Rock by Elton John, really made me smile, as I had not heard that song in a long time! The different instruments blended well, and the students clearly had a lot of talent, so I knew it was going to be a good show. They also did a lot of Disney tunes, including a Pixar medley, a How to Train Your Dragon Medley, a Moana medley, and more. I had never heard these pieces done by an orchestral group, and I think they were really well performed. The Moana medley was particularly fantastic, with the harmonies of the flutes accompanying the brass instruments very nicely. I also love Moana very much so this was a great inclusion in their performance in my opinion!

I was also amazed by the breadth of pieces performed by such a small group of students! Although many of the songs were Disney based, they seemed like really hard pieces. They also picked up on a couple of different genres, from swing/jazz in the La La Land piece, to more Irish-sounding tunes in the How to Train Your Dragon piece, to more modern music in the Moana medley. I especially enjoyed the piece from La La Land, because I think the music in that movie is absolutely gorgeous. And the students who played that song absolutely killed it. I really appreciated all the different instruments and how nicely they played together, even thought they had to be spaced apart 6 feet, wearing masks, and performing without an audience. I really appreciate them doing this during quarantine so we could all enjoy the music!

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