Benjamin Boersma — Staff Writer
This Friday evening, a decades-long tradition returns to the B. J. Haan Auditorium. Featuring both the Dordt College Combined Band and Chamber Orchestra, the theme of this year’s pops concert is On with the Show! and will include selections from many popular Broadway musicals.
“The concert has been around longer than I have been,” said Dr. Bradley Miedema, who directs both ensembles for the concert. “The previous director had established that tradition, and so I continued doing it when I took over in 2008. It’s been around since at least the 1990’s.”
This concert is the first major performance of the band and orchestra during the school year. Daniel Seaman, who is part of the pops concert planning committee, explained what happens behind the scenes.
“We start talking about details in May before school starts,” he said. “We worked slowly over the course of the summer and then more efficiently once school started to ensure the details were in place.”
One of these details is who the hosts will be. This year they will be Zach Dirksen and Nicholas Schnell.
“I was friends with previous hosts, and I had jokingly asked them to put in a good word for me to host this year,” said Dirksen. “I didn’t think it would actually happen. When I got the news that it had, I was surprised.”
Usually the hosts are recommended by the previous year’s hosts, although co-host Schnell had a somewhat different story.
“I had just gotten done with my alto saxophone jury at the end of last year, and as I was walking out Dr. Miedema came up to me and asked me if I would be interested in being a host,” he said.
Once the planning committee and hosts are selected, work begins on choosing music.
“We don’t get much rehearsal time with each group,” said Miedema. “I try to find what music is the best fit with a good variety within each group.”
The planning committee usually recommends music titles based on suggestions from the ensembles the year before, although Miedema has the final say.
“Some of the music he selects is already in our library, some may be ordered, but some we simply rent for this pops concert,” said Seaman.
Besides the music, another favorite is the costume contest. Each section of the band and orchestra dresses up as if they were part of the movie or musical. The principal player of each section is in charge of coordinating the costumes of his or her section.
“There’s a lot of crazy things that happen,” said Miedema. “I enjoy seeing their creative abilities in a fun, lighthearted way.”
The concert will begin at 7:00 Friday evening.
“I think it’s a great way to get students working together towards a common purpose,” said Miedema. “Regardless of their year or major, they are investing their time and talents to do something in an excellent fashion. This concert wouldn’t happen without that.”