Band and Orchestra prepare for annual Pops and Pastries concert



Graphic by Grace Whitaker '22.

Katie Maraldo '21 and Grace Whitaker '22, Staff Writer and Web Editor

Every year the Grosse Pointe South Band and Orchestra performs in their biggest fundraising concert, “Pops and Pastries.” It is held in South’s main gym on Saturday, Nov. 2.

This event is band and orchestra’s first major performance for the school year in front of friends and family, violin player Erica McGraw ’20 said.

I really enjoy getting to perform with everyone,” McGraw said. “It’s a little bit nerve-wracking  because there’s so many people, but it will be fun.”

The event itself is organized with the help of many people, according to orchestra teacher James Gross. 

“Mr. Takis, the South Band, and Orchestra Boosters and I are responsible for organizing the event,” Gross said. “Pops and Pastries is a concert that’s been going on since the 60s or 70s. It’s both a fundraiser and a fall showcase for the bands and orchestras.”

Both booster clubs and the engineering staff at South are responsible for the transformation of the main gym into a performance space, according to Takis.

“Our boosters do a great job with decorations, and the crew at South does an awesome job setting up the stage and having it tiered,” Takis said. “Seeing the gym kind of become a concert hall is the really cool thing about (the concert).”

Takis says that along with all the hard work the band directors and parent volunteers put in, the students spend countless hours preparing for this showcase.

“We just spend a lot of time practicing, a lot of rehearsals and a lot of individual preparation,” Takis said. “Obviously, the daily rehearsals are the most important thing that we do.”

Gross said the orchestra plays music ranging from 19th-century symphonies to modern-day arrangements.

“There will be some popular pieces like Downton Abbey, and there will be some popular-classical pieces like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” Gross said. 

McGraw said she has played for the orchestra throughout all of high school– although she is sad this is her last Pops and Pastries concert, she is excited about the music selection for this year.

“This year, we have a world premiere– we had music written for us and for four soloists,” McGraw said. “Also, we have quite a few pieces that I think people will know.”

As for the rest of the school year, this event really helps fundraising, according to member of Grosse Pointe South Band and Orchestra Boosters Jill Chown.

“It is the largest fundraiser of the year,” Chown said. “It helps us in that we don’t have to do so many fundraisers for the rest of the year.” 

Many different levels of skilled instrumentalists will be performing at Pops and Pastries, including different levels of the bands and orchestras, according to Chown.

“Concert Band, Symphony Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra are performing at Pops and Pastries,” Chown said.

The transformation of the gym to a performance hall is something everyone should see, according to Takis.

“It’s a really cool showcase of all of our ensembles,” Takis said. “There’s a difference between rehearsing and performing and what you get on a stage. There are always a little bit of nerves that show up, but I like watching students react to what the gym turns into.”