Concerts kick off TroyFest

Emily Foster

Staff Writer

On Monday, April 23, the Southeast Alabama Community  Band and Troy’s POPulus both held concerts to kick off this year’s TroyFest.

“Last year we had POPulus, and this year the Community Band wanted to do a concert, so we decided to perform them together,” said Shelia Jackson, the director of public relations and tourism for the city of Troy. “It worked out really great.”

The concert started at 6:30 p.m. with the Southeast Alabama Community Band, which performed an hour of various marches.

“We like to play marches, and we like to give people the opportunity to hear marches,” said Peter Howard, who plays the French horn in the Southeast Alabama Community Band. “It’s just fun; they’re challenging too.”

The Community Band was started 18 years ago by John Long and still has many of the original members, though many new ones have joined as well. At Monday night’s event, there were between 50 and 60 band members of all ages from all over southeast Alabama.

“I’ve been playing in it for 18 years — since Dr. Long established it,” Howard said. “A good number of us have been playing for all 18 years, and tonight we’re just doing a concert that is nothing but marches.”

The Community Band has been practicing every week since January to prepare for this and other concerts. Its next concert with be on May 7 in Claudia Crosby Theater at 7 p.m.

The Community Band played for an hour and, at 8 p.m., Troy University’s POPulus took the stage.

POPulus is a music group that has come out of Troy’s Music Industry Program and performs covers of popular American music as well as some of its own songs. Students can get involved with the band as musicians, singers, lighting and audio engineers, managers, producers and publicists.

“POPulus really is more than just a band,” said Richard W. Smith, the coordinator of the Music Industry Program and director of POPulus. “It gives them a chance to actually put into practice what they are hopefully aspiring to do in their career once they graduate.”

POPulus started the set off by covering Chicago and progressed from ’60s and ’70s classic music to modern hits and some originals.

“We can’t promise everybody’s gonna like everything, but you’ll love something,” Smith said.

POPulus is about to release its sixth album, titled “Super Human,” which can be found on iTunes and Amazon.

“Keep a watch out for POPulus,” Smith said. “There are stars right there, and they’re gonna make a huge impact in our world of music and entertainment.”

Brett Raley, a sophomore sociology major from Pensacola, Florida, came to see POPulus perform.

“I’m glad that POPulus is performing for the city of Troy,” Raley said. “They’re pretty solid.

“The set list has a lot of variety, which I really enjoy.”

The concerts were a kickoff to TroyFest, an annual event for artists in the community to be able to display and sell their crafts and for people to come together and support them and have a good time with the art, crafts, food and entertainment available.

TroyFest is presented each year by the city of Troy, the Troy Arts Council and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

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