Wednesday (7/28) on the Voice of America website, Jeff Lunden writes, “This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Boston Pops—the granddaddy of America’s popular orchestras. Since 1897, practically every Boston Pops concert has ended with John Philip Sousa’s immortal march: ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ It’s part of the repertoire of almost every local orchestra and school band around the country. The Boston Pops and its conductor for 50 years, Arthur Fiedler, had a lot to do with its popularity, according to John Williams, the Hollywood composer who followed in Fiedler’s footsteps. … But long before Fiedler picked up the baton, the Boston Pops had carved out a niche, bringing light orchestral music to wide audiences. ‘As I like to say it, the Pops is the orchestra for people who don’t know they like orchestras,’ says Keith Lockhart, who’s been conducting the Boston Pops for the past 16 years. The orchestra was formed in 1885 by some of the Boston Symphony’s early benefactors, who were looking to expand the orchestra’s appeal by playing popular music. Within a few years, these became known as pops concerts. … The party continues all summer. The Boston Pops will be giving concerts in and around Boston and at Tanglewood in the Berkshires.”

Photo: John Williams passes the Boston Pops baton to Kieth Lockhart

Posted July 29, 2010