After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the South Jersey Pops, the area’s own non-profit orchestra, resumes its milestone 50th season of delighting local audiences as it presents “Solstice” on Dec. 12 at Lenape High School in Medford, New Jersey. The concert’s theme is both a nod to the winter solstice and the orchestra’s excitement to turn the corner and return to the stage.
South Jersey Pops’ musical director Robert Bradshaw of Audubon, founder of the Haddonfield School of Music, will resume his fifth season conducting the 70-piece, all-volunteer orchestra. And despite the long break, the orchestra has grown, adding more than five new members.
“In November of 2019, we began to celebrate our 50th year with our concert ‘Yesterday: The Music of Pops Past.’ Two years later, we are thrilled to continue the celebration and resume our concerts,” said Bradshaw. “We have been rehearsing as a full orchestra since early September and have kept up our musical chops with a few Zoom ‘performances,’ so we will be ready to usher in the holidays with a grand return to the stage.”
All attendees ages 12 and over will be required to present proof of COVID vaccination, and all guests must wear a mask during the concert.
“As the winter solstice marks the end of the longest night and the return of the sun, the Pops celebrates our return to the stage after a long hiatus,” said South Jersey Pops Executive Director Christian Stebbins. “We’ll play some holiday favorites, along with music that captures our feelings of longing to perform and our excitement of coming back, like Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.”
Song selections for “Solstice” include the Boston Pops’ “Christmas Festival,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Carol of the Bells.” Featured artists include Concertmaster Laress Loo performing “Greensleeves,” and vocalist Emma Gibbins singing “Hands” by Jewel.
“Solstice” begins at 3 p.m. Dec. 12; doors open 60 minutes before the performance to allow time for handling COVID protocols. Admission is $15 for adults, and $5 for children under 12. Children under two are free. Lenape High School is located at 235 Hartford Road, Medford, N.J. To order tickets, visit www.southjerseypops.org/events.