On December 6, 2023, at the Michigan Theater, the Michigan Pops Orchestra presented “Life on Planet Pops.” I’ve been to every Pops concert since my freshman year, and I was especially excited for this one after seeing this semester’s poster that teased The Lion King, Star Wars (which they somehow manage to play every year), Princess and the Frog, and more. As the theme and poster suggest, all of the music they chose was related to animals, though there surprisingly wasn’t much classical repertoire. However, it was my favorite program out of all of the Pops concerts I’ve seen.
They opened with a medley of Beauty and the Beast and they sounded exactly like the soundtrack of it on Spotify. I loved the concertmaster’s solo so much it gave me goosebumps, and once the melody of Tale as Old as Time played, the strings all together really shined. The song they chose from Princess and the Frog was “Almost There” with a guest student singer from SMTD, and she was very talented. I loved how she opened with dialogue that transitioned into song and that she maintained her character’s cheerful flare throughout the performance.
After a brief intermission, they returned with Hoe Down, a piece with a fun syncopated tune. I’ve heard other orchestras play it before, but I loved that Pops included a good “Yeehaw” in the middle. To end the night, they played the William Tell Overture. I feel like it’s a piece everyone knows. Though I didn’t recognize the title, I immediately recognized the tunes, especially the latter half.
As always, Pops includes movies to play alongside their music. This semester, they chose to film Pokémon and Jaws, and the way the actors portrayed the animals was hilarious. Pikachu was taller than Ash, his trainer, and the shark in Jaws crawled out of the fountain by the Michigan League.
I highly recommend going to the Michigan Pops Orchestra concerts. They’re always amazing and enjoyable for people who aren’t well-versed in classical music and I always have a lot of fun at their events!