Ode to Joy


Written by Oscar Scholin, Journalist

On a lovely warm December afternoon, the PG Pops Community Orchestra performed their fifth annual holiday concert. The PG Pops Orchestra, led by music director and French Hornist Barbara Priest, consists of members of all ages and skill levels who meet every Tuesday night from 4:45 to 6:30 to rehearse their music. Their repertoire for the concert consisted of “In The Hall of the Mountain King,” “The Holberg Suite: Sarabande, Gavotte,” “A Holst Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year,” “Russian Christmas Music (arranged by fellow member Scott Seward),” and concluded with an encore of  “Ode to Joy.”

Before the PG Pops performed, the Monterey Horn Ensemble played, consisting of Jackie Orzel, Emily Craparo, Oscar Scholin, Carleton Macy, and Gary Love. They played three Gershwin pieces, all arranged by Carleton Macy (“I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Somebody Loves Me,” and “Fascinating Rhythm”).

After the horns played, the orchestra took to the stage. The musicians, with the drop of the baton, began to play, feeling the music and listening to each other. During the “Russian Christmas Music,” a small group of brass moved up to the balcony of the PG Middle School Performing Arts Theatre and joined the rest of the orchestra for the finale, filling the vast auditorium with rich crisp festive sound. The sound of the final notes ringing throughout the hall were replaced with the echoing of applause as the orchestra stood up.

The PG Pops Orchestra hosts three concerts a year, in December, March,  and June, in the Pacific Grove Middle School auditorium (835 Forest Avenue Pacific Grove, CA  93950) at 2 pm. They rehearse from 4:45 until 6:30 every Tuesday night in the Pacific Grove Middle band room, and drop-ins are welcome. As they are a community organization, they rely on funding from the community. To become a patron or musician, please contact them at [email protected]. Also, visit their website, http://www.pgpopsorchestra.com/, to check performance/rehearsal dates, for a biography of Barbara Priest, and much more. Their next concert is March 3, at 2pm in the PGMS auditorium. Please consider donating and/or attending one of their concerts, as they do appreciate it and you will be amazed.