The Michigan Pops Orchestra, the only completely student-run and directed orchestra on campus, performs this Sunday at the Michigan Theater. Unlike conventional orchestras that perform Beethoven and Mozart, the Pops Orchestra traditionally performs popular music. It was founded on the basis of entertaining a broader audience and exposing more individuals to the culture of instrumental symphonic music.

Paul Wong
Michigan Pops Orchestra gets ready to groove.<br><br>Courtesy of Paul Dobryden

The Michigan Pops Orchestra consists of members from all schools across campus including Music, LSA and Engineering. Mostly undergraduate students audition at the beginning of both Fall and Winter semesters. They rehearse once during the week to prepare for their end of the semester concert.

Engineering sophomore Steve Skripnik is the business manager of the Pops Orchestra and said, “I love the music and love to perform.” Skripnik, like many others, devotes time out of his already packed schedule to rehearse and flex his musical muscles to bring instrumental music to the University.

This semester the orchestra focused on the musical theater genre with hopes to attract people who otherwise “would not touch symphonic music with a ten foot pole.”

With this goal in mind, their new director Karl Shymanovitz put together Sunday”s concert. The title of the performance, “POPS: 613 miles from Broadway,” is well suited for the show”s theme. Shymanovitz put this program together with inspiration from his past experiences. He came to the orchestra from MUSKET, another student-run organization, with a background in musical theater.

Sunday”s program includes selections from successful musicals such as “Evita” and “Les Miserables.” These classic stories will come to life inside the audience”s mind when they hear the Pops Orchestra narrate the plots with selected music. Newer hits, such as “Rent” will also appear on the program and represent the new age musical theater. Performing these well-known tunes generate a bond between the players and the audience so that they feel each other”s emotions, just as an audience feels the emotions of an actor on stage.

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