DECATUR — The Labor Day Pops Concert is a tradition for many, but there’s always something new.
Sergey Bogza will be conducting the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and the Labor Day Pops Concert again this year. A new feature to this year’s event is the venue. The concert will be held Monday, Sept. 2, at the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater. Tickets are $5 for seats; free for the lawn area. In case of inclement weather, audiences are asked to attend the concert at the Hickory Point Anne & Al Swartz Pavilion.
Previous Labor Day concerts have been performed at the Hickory Point Pavilion and the Nelson Park stage area near the lake.
A ticket to the concert is also new to the holiday concert. According to Bogza, the use of the Devon and sound equipment as well as copyright costs of certain selections require funds. “It’s not a cheap concert,” he said. “The cost is really just for reserving your seats.”
The conductor is also impressed with the stage, lighting and acoustics of the Devon. He said outdoor venues are not often ideal for concert sound or audience interaction. The Devon not only works for musicians, but also for the audience. “They can see the entire orchestra,” Bogza said. “There is also concessions and better parking spaces.”
The repertoire for the annual concert offers a variety of genres, probably because the music was chosen by last year’s audience. “It has popular music, light music and some serious music,” Bogza said.
Audiences had the opportunity to select the concert music a year in advance. At the bottom of the 2018 Labor Day Pops program, fans wrote down in their favorites. According to Bogza, waltzes, musicals and movie music were the choice pieces. One of the most popular is “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
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“For some reason people want to hear the orchestra play it,” he said.
A few of the selections are patriotic or Americana. However, theme songs from “Rocky,” “Sound of Music,” and “Carousel” have been just as popular for the holiday concert.
“I think people just love to hear things they know,” Bogza said. “They know how it starts, they know how it ends and they can follow along. It is much more enjoyable than being introduced to a piece you have no idea how it goes.”
The Labor Day Pops concert is an introduction to the MDSO season. The first concert will be Sept. 21 at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center.
Although the conductor and musicians are looking forward to the upcoming season, the Labor Day concert should be an exciting performance, according to Bogza.
“There is so little time to waste,” he said. “So the energy and enthusiasm are there.”