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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson Pops Orchestra to play at Music Under The Stars


    The stars will be winking at the Tucson Pops Orchestra in its final show for the spring. Music Under the Stars has had families packing picnic baskets and stretching out on their quilted blankets for years, but it’s the last show that is always most exciting.

    “People tell me I have a gift with bringing music to the people,” said László Veres, conductor and music director of the Pops.

    Since Veres replaced Bucky and Jeanne Steele, he created a new tradition: the spring wrap up with “1812 Overture” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

    “It is written for a celebration,” said Veres.

    The Pops Orchestra is ending its spring season with a bang or two, literally.

    He explained the piece calls for the use of cannons as an instrument, but instead of alarming everyone within a fifteen-mile radius of Reid Park, he uses bass drums and has volunteers from the audience come up and join.

    “At the very end, on cue, they go bang, bang, bang,” he said.

    The Pops have come a long way since performing in hotels 57 years ago. Now, the group packs the performance center named after Georges DeMeester, the founder of the Pops.

    “It brings people together,” said Dorothy Spence, executive director of the Pops. On average, the Pops draw in a crowd of 7,000 people for each performance.

    But the number of performances each year is already starting to decline. The orchestra usually performs six times in the spring and four in the fall, but due to the economy, donations are not as generous as they once were. The Pops had to cancel its last show of the spring season and is now combining the last two scheduled shows into one final show this Sunday.

    “This is something I’ve done for 30 years,” said Liz Burnham, a crowd member. “It’s a long tradition in my family.”

    Catch the last performance of the spring season this Sunday at 7 p.m.

    For more information on the orchestra and upcoming performances, visit

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