They're now called simply the Pops, instead of the Sarasota Pops Orchestra, and this weekend's concert shows why.
The Pops has been looking to increase its presence in Bradenton and Manatee County in recent years, and orchestra officials didn't want to seem quite so Sarasota-centric. In fact, in an email to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce last spring, the orchestra's music director said she hoped the orchestra would "morph into the Bradenton Symphony Orchestra."
On Sunday and Monday, the Pops are performing a concert titled "The Amazing Technicolors of Broadway." The Sunday performance will be in Bradenton, at the Neel Performing Arts Center at the State College of Florida. Monday's will be in Sarasota.
The orchestra is teaming up with performers Sarasota's Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to celebrate Broadway. Selections include songs from the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies," the Fats Waller revue "Ain't Misbehavin," and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," plus "Somewhere That's Green" from "The Little Shop of Horrors," "Red and Black" from "Les Miserables" and others.
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Robyn Bell, the orchestra's music director who wrote that email to the chamber of commerce, conducts.
Details: 3 p.m. March 15, Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota; and 7:30 p.m. March 16, Neel Performing Arts Center, State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Tickets: $20-$25. Information: 941-926-7677, thepopsorchestra.org.
-- Marty Clear