The annual Pops concert from the Topeka Symphony Orchestra is the only one of its kind for the orchestra this season.
The concert, titled “Out of This World,” features the music of space and includes some favored film soundtracks to take listeners back to another time. Each year, the orchestra performs seven main stage concerts, two of which are “pops,” or more popular music, with one always being a holiday performance.
Music director and conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett said he decided on the show after hearing the score for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” which he saw in theaters with his children last year. After positive reinforcement from his two sons, the theme was decided.
“It’s the kind of music that appeals to people,” Pickett said. “And people know a lot more symphony music then they think they do.”
The concert’s lineup features works from “Star Wars,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Star Trek,” as well as highlights from Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite “The Planets.”
Ticket sales have performed well, Pickett said, with a particular interest from first-time symphonygoers. Pickett said the Topeka Symphony Orchestra has received multiple calls from interested people who said this would be their first TSO experience, and he is excited to open the door to a new artistic experience.
Pops concerts also are different from classical concerts in that the pieces are shorter, and there is some narration between works to explain the background of the pieces. Pickett said his wife, who has a background in theater, helped write the script for a “Bill Nye the Science Guy” type of character to speak with the audience.
The show made its debut to more than 3,500 fifth- through eighth-graders Wednesday at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
Pickett said an acoustic concert performed by a full orchestra and a pipe organ, showcasing well-known film soundtracks, is unlike any other symphony experience.
“Especially in the White Concert Hall, with the pipe organ — the whole hall vibrates,” he said. “It’s an experience like nothing else to feel acoustic music performed that way.”
The symphony also will feature its 2016-2017 Young Artist Competition winner at Saturday’s concert. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. at White Concert Hall, S.W. 17th and Jewell Street on Washburn University’s campus.
Tickets are available by calling the TSO office at (785) 232-2032 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or emailing the office at tso@TopekaSymphony.org. Tickets cost $25, $30 or $35, with a half-price student discount available. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office one hour before concert time.