Concert marks 40th year

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Forty years of tradition will be celebrated Saturday evening during the annual POPS Dinner Concert presented by University Friends of Music.

For Portales resident Jan Smartnick, attending the event has been a tradition since she moved back to the area in 1974. In the last 33 years, Smartnick has only missed one concert.

When Smartnick returned to the area, she was told the POPS Dinner Concert was the event of the year in Portales.

The event is not quite as formal as it once was when men wore tuxedos and women long dresses, but is still considered a dressy event, Smartnick said.

“It’s glitzy and glittery and a wonderful evening. It’s lots of good food, good fun and good fellowship,” Smartnick said.

The POPS Dinner Concert was founded in 1967 when Eastern New Mexico University had an orchestra. Since that time the orchestra has been replaced by the wind symphony.

“It’s always a nice opportunity to say to the music department who work very hard how much we appreciate them,” said Friends of Music President Patrice Caldwell.

In celebration of the concert’s 40th anniversary, the music played will focus on favorite tunes from the 1960s. The Swanee Singers will also be a featured part of the program, performing tunes from the same time period, Caldwell said.

“I hope this will be an event that people can come to and say “Wow, that’s what a concert’s about,” Caldwell said.

A continuing tradition that occurs every year during the concert is the “Name That Tune” contest. The winner earns the honor of conducting the Wind Symphony as they play, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Caldwell said.

“It’s been one of our dearest traditions,” Caldwell said.

Money raised from the concert is used to fund scholarships for ENMU music students. Ten to 12 scholarships are given away yearly.

Over the years the amount awarded has increased from $500 to the area of $700 to $1,000, Caldwell said.

“We want students to feel support in getting their music education degrees,” Caldwell said.

At a glance:

What: POPS Dinner Concert

When: Saturday

Where: Eastern New Mexico University Campus Union Ballroom

Time: 7 p.m.

• The concert will feature music performed by the University Wind Symphony and the Swanee Singers.

• For more information on ticket availability, contact Nancye Gressett at 762-0619.