by Blake Herzog
Just about all nonprofit arts organizations faced a difficult year in 2020 due the pandemic’s effect on the economy and the ability of supporters to continue making donations. Those groups formed to produce live performances have been especially damaged by restrictions placed on public events.
Yet the Prescott POPs, which has been performing classical and popular music for the Greater Prescott area for the past 26 years, is undeterred and greeting the new year with a new name and expanded focus.
POPs board member Joe Cotten announced in December the organization has become the Prescott Symphony Orchestra as an overarching name over three distinct programs:
- Prescott POPs — Cotten said the POPs will continue its tradition of presenting light classical music for the public this year, with at least five concerts presented in summer, fall and winter schedules, including those incorporating music celebrating July 4, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Season ticket holders from the 2019-20 season will be able to select the same seats for the 2021-22 season, and the group continues to recommend patrons buy season tickets due to how quickly performances sell out.
- Prescott Chamber Orchestra — This is Prescott’s oldest orchestra, formed more than 35 years ago to recreate the early days of symphonic music when venues were limited to small castle halls and churches. This meant orchestras were smaller and concerts were more intimate, allowing more interaction between musicians and audiences. Performing under the umbrella of the Prescott Symphony Orchestra, this group will perform lesser-known pieces from the early days of concert music as an alternative to the more popular works played by the POPs and other larger orchestras.
- Prescott Symphony Educational Outreach — The new season will continue the Prescott POPs’ tradition of putting all proceeds to work benefitting the youth of the community through scholarships and the Music Memory program, bringing as many as 2,000 young people together for a special concert. School grants have also paid for instruments and other musical program costs.
During the pandemic the Prescott Symphony Orchestra has funded software that allows music instructors to work one-on-one with students in the Humboldt Unified School District. It is also pursuing a goal of forming a youth orchestra as a third performing group with its own schedule, potentially starting with the musical program at Granite Mountain Middle School.
The Prescott Symphony Orchestra invites the entire Greater Prescott community to contribute to the success of their new endeavors. To make a donation or check for further details about upcoming performances visit www.prescottsymphony.com