37th annual Pepsi Pops returns to Old Trace Park TONIGHT

Pepsi Pops returns to Old Trace Park for 37th year

RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - Storms put a damper in plans two weeks ago for the 37th annual Pepsi Pops, but with the promise of dry weather, the show will go on Friday.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s annual waterside performance is one of the largest of the year. Conductor Crafton Beck sat down for a preview of the popular outdoor event.

“It lets people know this is what live music is and this is what symphonic music is,” said Beck.

On the shores of the Reservoir, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra takes off the tuxedos and gowns to bring their premiere sounds to the masses listening in lawn chairs and shorts at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland.

The Pepsi Pops Concert was originally scheduled for May 10, but was rescheduled because of storms.

“Three times maybe four times in the last 20 years we’ve had to postpone, and it’s always a hard decision," said Beck. “You know a really hard decision, but we tend to call it right.”

Thousands attend the performance that’s a part of the spring outdoor series.

Conductor Crafton Beck will lead the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra for the 18th year at Pepsi Pops Friday. Source: WLBT
Conductor Crafton Beck will lead the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra for the 18th year at Pepsi Pops Friday. Source: WLBT

Beck, who has led the orchestra for 18 years, chooses a wide array of music to appeal to all ages, an opportunity to bring a live concert to those who may not be able to attend the events at Thalia Mara Hall.

“There’s a number of people because they have families because they’re in their 20′s or early 30′s and they don’t have the time or even the budget to come downtown on a Saturday night, and so for that age group in many ways this is the concert or one of two concerts that they might hear the orchestra every year,” said the orchestra leader.

For Beck, the outdoor performance allows those attending to see professional musicians and what the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra truly offers.

“A symphony orchestra is not this distant thing that we see on TV or something we hear on a radio,” added Beck. “It’s a live group of 50,55 people playing live music, human beings playing music for other human beings. Lots of energy around it, and it’s fun.”

The live concert gets underway Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

The MSO will perform Saturday at the Vicksburg National Military Park at 7 p.m.

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