POPulus, a student-organized music group, will perform in front of Bibb Graves Hall on Tuesday, April 26, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
“The University really hasn’t seen what these students have done this semester,” said Robert W. Smith, professor of music at Troy, coordinator of the music industry program and producer of POPulus. “This will be the first time everyone’s actually seen the fruits of their work this year, so we’re excited about that.”
POPulus was first formed four years ago by Smith in an effort to create an educational experience that encompasses many aspects of the music industry program.
“What’s most important about this — something most Americans don’t know — is that we only have one art form that has come out of the United States of America, and that’s popular music,” Smith said.
The title POPulus is derived from two root words: “pop” meaning popular and “ulus” meaning nations in many Mediterranean languages. Literally translated, the name means “of the people.”
“We perform your style of music, which means rock, pop, hip-hop, R&B, country, anything,” said Tatyana Webb, senior music industry major from Montgomery.
Webb has been performing with the group since she was a freshman and is currently a singer/songwriter for the group. She will be acting as a producer in the upcoming semester.
“The MUI program is unique because the organization is all student-led, so we have our professors, but they are almost more like mediators,” Webb said. “They guide us in some places and give us critiques, but it’s very much run by students.”
Alex Tjoland, senior music industry major from Warner Robins, Georgia, is in his second year playing as POPulus’ drummer.
He said that being a part of POPulus has largely been an educational experience.
“It’s an ensemble that helps performers become more accustomed to performing live,” Tjoland said. “Having a live audience helps us to have better stage presence.”
“I believe that the primary goal of POPulus is to have an educational experience of what exactly show biz is like because it’s not necessarily just about the performance,” said Madison Smith, sophomore vocal music education major from Montgomery.
Smith is primarily a vocalist for POPulus, but she also acts as a choreographer.
“It’s pretty fantastic,” Smith said. “Especially recently, we’ve all gotten really close. I’m just on stage with my friends, and we’re goofing off while also playing music.
“That’s the part that makes is just sound better. We’re not just musicians individually playing parts, we’re friends making music together.”
The members and coordinator of the band have great expectations for the future and growth of POPulus.
“I think POPulus is going to grow,” Madison Smith said. “Even this past year, we had to add an additional ensemble.
“These past auditions, we had so many talented people come out for it. It can’t go anywhere except for up.”
“POPulus has become the nucleus and hub of our music industry program because we’re not just talking about it in the classroom anymore,” said Robert Smith, the group’s founder.
“It has grown in depth and breadth and quality over the years — trying to get students from different walks of life to come together to buy into a concept that has now morphed into a pretty amazing group.
“They sound great,” Smith said. “Audiences love them.
“We started out as a small group, and now we’ve got two different POPulus bands that not only perform independently but also come together in a super large pop ensemble.”
The performers said they are excited about the upcoming concert, named after an original song, “Chasing the Sunrise.”
“I’m really just expecting a big, big party,” Webb said. “It’s something to really kick off finals and getting ready for the summer.”
Madison Smith said, “This is us showing everyone what we can do and the different styles that we can sing and how fun it is.”
Attendees are advised to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the concert on the quad.
“Here at Troy, between the jazz ensemble and POPulus, you’re looking at America’s only artistic gift to the world, and that’s a pretty interesting thing to think about,” Robert Smith said.
Interested students can learn more about POPulus at reverbnation.com and Facebook.
The group’s music can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. Its most recent album, “All Night,” will be released soon on iTunes.