Macon Pops, Macon’s first pops orchestra, will debut Oct. 26 at Macon City Auditorium. The concert will mark the first of a three-concert series.
Grammy-nominated percussionist Steve Moretti and Grammy-winning arranger Matt Catingub announced their plans to start Macon Pops during a press conference in August. Catingub on keyboard, Moretti on drums, and Chris Riggenbach on bass performed "Jeepers Creepers" and “Watermelon Man” during the conference to give attendees a taste of Macon Pops’ sound.
The idea of creating a pops orchestra in Macon came to Moretti and Catingub after they performed at Cox Capitol Theatre in February. They had already created pops orchestras in California and Hawaii.
“We had done this around the world. Why not start the Macon Pops? We’re having a cultural renaissance here,” Moretti said.
Moretti’s wife, Amy Schwartz Moretti, directs the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at the Townsend School of Music.
"We've run the numbers on it, conservative numbers. And we can pretty much break even just on ticket sales, to be honest. And that's the great thing about this model with just the one rehearsal," Moretti said.
The Oct. 26 concert entitled, “Dancing Through the Decades,” will feature music from the big band era of the 1950s through the 2000s. The Dec. 7 performance will contain variations on traditional holiday music featuring local choirs and local hip-hop artist Floco Torres. The third concert, March 1, will be country music themed, featuring country music artist JoDee Messina.
“These innovative performances showcasing highly regarded studio and symphony orchestra musicians will blend the best of pop music while covering a broad musical spectrum,” Moretti said in a press release. “Macon Pops will complement our rich musical heritage and add a brand new ﬂavor to our local music scene.”
During the performances, Macon City Auditorium will be decorated as a nightclub, complete with dance ﬂoor, catered food and bar.
Catingub, who created the soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated motion picture “Good Night and Good Luck,” said the pops orchestras he and Moretti put together contain no more than 40 musicians, all of whom are brought together for a single rehearsal the day of the concert.
“It may sound scary, but that’s why they are professional musicians,” he said. “Because they can do it.”
Macon Pops has already seen ﬁnancial support for the concert series from local citizens. Moretti said that one supporter has issued a “challenge donation:” they will donate $1 for every $1 raised by the community, up to $50,000.
According to a press release, tickets went on sale Sept. 1 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster online or by calling 800-653-8000. Tables will be available on the ﬂoor at a variety of prices and balcony seats will be $10 each.