- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - When the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra was selecting a theme for Friday’s annual Jubilee Pops outdoor concert, heroism seemed like a natural choice.

Maestro Thomas Hinds said the idea came from talking with a good friend, who happens to be a hero, Col. Al Allenback, USAF retired. “He’s a combat veteran,” said Hinds. “He’s a pilot. Flew an A-10 (Thunderbolt II) back in the Gulf War.”

As usual, this year’s free concert takes place at 7 p.m. on the grounds outside the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave., in downtown Montgomery.

“We’re going to do music about heroes of various sorts,” said Hinds. “A great many of them are from movies. Some of them are on the idea of heroism. We’ll have military marches. Things like that. It ought to be fun.”

Hinds said they’ll be opening concert with the Stars Spangled Banner, Stars and Stripes Forever and America the Beautiful.

In previous years, this concert has brought in enough people to pack the lawn outside Archives and History, and most of the grassy area across the street next to the Alabama State Capitol.

“This concert has really become like a community event,” said Hinds.”This, and the Broadway under the Stars concert we do around Labor Day at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. This is a chance for people to bring a blanket, a picnic, your friends and bring your good cheer. Come on out and listen to some good music. See your friends and maybe make some new ones.”

Hinds recalls his first Jubilee Pops Concert back he first joined MSO in 1983. “We opened it up with the music from ‘The Water Music’ (by George Frideric Handel), and ended it with music from ‘Gone with the Wind,’” said Hinds. “And then we had a tornado come through.”

At that time, the concert was set down on Montgomery’s riverfront. “We put up with the insects with their swarming in the middle of the concert. We had a stray snake come up from the river and wander through the violin section, causing considerable concern,” said Hinds. “So we decided to move it up to the Archives and History building. We’ve been there ever since.”

Although MSO has been performing for more than 40 years, Hinds said this has been a particularly good year for the orchestra.

“It has been playing very well,” said Hinds. “We’re musicians, so when we run into music that’s inspiring or is particularly well written, like some of this music is, it’s a great pleasure to be doing this.”

One measure of MSO’s success can be seen in the crowds who’ll pack the lawns by the hundreds on Friday, although Hinds said MSO can’t truly take credit for that. “The people who live here have done this,” said Hinds. “They’ve taken this concert that we’ve done for so long and they’ve made it into a community event.”

Hinds said it gives the orchestra great pleasure to play this music for the community.

“We’re here for Montgomery, and this is a community orchestra,” said Hinds. “This is a chance for us to do something for the community. We don’t do concerts for commercial reasons. This is not a commercial undertaking. We’re doing this for the wellbeing of the people here in Montgomery and for this area. This is a community event. This is not just a concert. This is a chance for the community to come together - people that you know and people that you don’t know - simply to experience a lovely evening. To experience some really beautiful and inspiring music. This is one of the things that a community does if it’s a healthy community. We find events that bring us together.”

The River Region has had seen a huge amount of rain over the past few days, and looks to likely see more next week. Fortunately, the forecast seems to be bending around Jubilee Pops for a clear night outdoors. Friday’s forecast calls for a sunny day with temperatures between 89 and 64.

“We work really hard on the weather,” Hinds said, laughing. “We try to make sure that the weather cooperates.”


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