According to Deb Jenkins, the theme for this year's Village Arts spring concert has been on her mind for a long time.
"When I was in high school we had named our pops concerts," Jenkins said. This was an idea from my orchestra teacher, who helped me to start the program. He had wanted to do a 'bach to rock' concert, and that's always been rolling around in my mind.
On Sunday afternoon Jenkins will direct the Heart Strings (string instrument players 18 and under) and the Heartland Civic Strings, who will share the stage with a choir - directed by Ely music instructor Andee Mattson - and a symphony orchestra - directed by Tilman Hovland. The concert takes place at 2 p.m. in the Rugby High School auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the door.
Musical selections will include a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", a montage of old-time rock and roll songs and popular music from other eras.
"We're always looking for music that will appeal to local audiences," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said themes for concerts can come from either wanting to play more music in a certain genre, or knowing a few pieces that would work for the orchestra and developing one around them.
Jenkins said about 70 musicians will be on stage at Sunday's concert, some of whom drive long distances to participate.
"We continue to keep the schedule going because we really believe that it has benefitted a lot of people to be able to use that time to express themselves musically," Jenkins said. "I am just really happy with the program, I feel people are really invested in it."
Evening practices for the concert began earlier this year. Jenkins said there was no auditions, instead participation in the choir, strings and orchestra was open to any who wanted to join, regardless of ability or past experience.
"I think one of the things that's great about community music is you don't have to be accomplished to play with us," Jenkins said. "There's really no way to get better without playing in a group."
Jenkins said the first pops concert took place in the late '90s and it was a sort of "test trial".
"We did three pieces," Jenkins said. "The concert lasted about 20 minutes."
Village Arts also puts on a concert in the winter, before Christmas.