The Valley Symphony Association (VSA) kicks off the all-volunteer arts organization's 48th season with two free "Pops in the Park" concerts on Saturday, Sept. 8, in the Cedaredge Town Park and Sunday, Sept. 9, at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose. Performances start at 5 p.m.
For their only outdoor concerts of the season, the orchestra and chorus will perform a range of popular or "pops" and contemporary music styles, including Americana, movie music, rock 'n' roll, Broadway tunes, and traditional marches.
"This 'lighter fare' appeals to all ages, as we'll be doing everything from 'Harry Potter' movie music to selections of early Broadway numbers like 'Porgy and Bess' and lots in between," said orchestra director Michael Kern. He explained that the VSA is comprised of "your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow citizens. We look to the regional community to support us, and we hope you'll bring your friends along for a pleasant afternoon of popular music."
The chorus will reprise selections from its popular "Sounds of the 60s and 70s" concert held in March. It will perform names like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Beatles, and James Taylor in choral settings that are rich and true to the original songs. "The audience had a tough time staying still while listening to the music from this generation presented by the chorus in our spring concert," said chorus director Allyson Connally.
VSA board member Priscilla Fry emphasized that VSA's music is for everyone, not just those who consider themselves classical enthusiasts. "This season's five concerts offer a wide range of themes that appeal to all ages, so ordering season or individual concert tickets are a great way to plan in advance for date or family night, or to purchase as gifts or employee incentives."
Having an all-volunteer arts organization such as the VSA is "a rare and special thing for a community, and we need assistance to help keep it going and growing," Fry said.
The organization saw a large uptick in concert attendance last year because of its increased publicity efforts. It rebranded with a new logo, an updated website, and an increased social media presence. "Along with selling more season tickets to a larger demographic, we're looking to attract past and new sponsors and volunteers to support our organization and keep us in the music-making business."
The VSA provides the free "pops" concerts annually to expose everyone to the accessibility of its offerings for all ages and to encourage season ticket sales.
"Because our Christmas by Candlelight concerts often sell out, buying tickets in advance guarantees you a seat," Fry said. "You can save up to 40 percent by purchasing season tickets."
The Cedaredge concert includes a homemade pie and ice cream social fundraiser. Food and drink will be available at the Cobble Creek concert.
For information, upcoming concerts, the audition process, and tickets, visit the VSA on Facebook @valleysymphonyassociation and at ValleySymphony.net. Tickets are also available in Delta at Clubb's and in Montrose at DeVinny Jewelers and the Pavilion Event Center.