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Season Preview 2019–2020: Ottawa Pops Orchestra

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on June 4, 2019

Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever).


After seeing a few of the dynamic productions from Ottawa Pops Orchestra in the past couple of years, we couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for the upcoming season of shows.

They announced their new season, beginning in November 2019, with everyone’s favourite boy wizard as Harry’s Musical World returns. We were lucky enough to catch a production of this a couple of years ago and are eager to see it again. Whether the song selection stays the same or has some changes, the seven movies provide ample fantastical and inspiring music that fits so nicely with the story of The Boy Who Lived and is a real treat to see done live.

Video Game Symphony will delight audiences next March, where Jonathan Dagenais, Principal Pops Conductor for the orchestra, will bring his experience with the Orchestre de jeux vidéo – OJV— a Montreal orchestra dedicated to video game soundtracks—to Ottawa audiences.

Close to our hearts, Ottawa Pops Orchestra will bring Pops, On Broadway! to us in May 2020. Broadway music can range from stunning and classical to vibrant rock & roll and we can’t wait to see what songs end up in this productions setlist.

You can read more about their recent Disney in Concert production and an initial interview with the Mathieu Roy, Artistic and Executive Director, about the orchestra here.

We continue our interview with Roy here for more details on Ottawa Pops Orchestra. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

In addition to this next season’s announcement of great shows, what should we expect from the Ottawa Pops Orchestra in 2019 and beyond?

We don’t want to limit ourselves to one genre, but to keep pushing what it means to be a pops orchestra. This might mean combining Star Trek with Gustav Holst’s The Planets; merging film music and 20th century classical music in an outer space musical expedition; or taking a trip to the Big White Way with guest vocalists for some Broadway blockbuster. I am also very interested in combining more than one artform, it would be really neat to integrate visual art, dance and theatre into the orchestral performance.

We want to collaborate with local artists and organizations and start a conversation surrounding music and art in general.

We are still a very new organization and in the process of truly establishing ourselves in the Ottawa-Gatineau community. We are currently applying to obtain registered charity status which will allow us to establish the Ottawa Pops Foundation which in turn will permit us to achieve our goal much faster and secure other sources of funding. We want to collaborate with local artists and organizations and start a conversation surrounding music and art in general. We are appealing to a market that is looking for new experiences, and that is what we hope to achieve.

What can you tell us about your educational initiatives?

We believe that gaining performance experience should be widely available, regardless of financial background. In 2018, we initiated the Orchestral Development Bursary, which is a monetary award presented to outstanding musicians in the orchestra under the age of 30 as they gain the orchestral experience to help them in their musical careers.

We also believe in fostering the next generation of musicians and music appreciators and that this starts early on in the classroom!

We also began opening our dress rehearsals to students between grades 5 to 12 in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The student matinees are a one hour condensed program that is performed at local schools during the orchestra’s dress rehearsal, and is an opportunity to showcase the musical arts in the community to students who are just beginning to fully explore the arts in school. We also believe in fostering the next generation of musicians and music appreciators and that this starts early on in the classroom!

As of 2019, we hope to expand our educational endeavors directly into the classroom offering concerts and workshops for students of all ages. The majority of our musicians are fairly young and from experience, we see that youth identify well with people closer to their age group. If a high school student who is considering a career in music—be it as a performer, music management, music therapist, writer etc.—but is afraid to pursue it, they might see others succeeding and it could help them make a decision.


Stay up to date on when tickets go on sale for the next season’s shows at the Ottawa Pops Orchestra Facebook page.


 

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