ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Baldwin residents, along with the rest of the country, will be getting a bit of a break this year with the deadline to file taxes pushed back to Tuesday, April 17, so why not take advantage of the extra time by treating yourself to a Baldwin Pops concert, which will be held April 15 at the Baldwin County Coliseum in Robertsdale.
After a good turnout from last year’s first-ever concert in Robertsdale, the Baldwin Pops is making a return trip to Robertsdale this year as part of its 2017-18 season. The concert will also once again serve as the first of two John Allen Memorial Scholarship Concerts, and Robertsdale High will be well represented.
RHS second-year band director Lee Hughes is a member and serves on the Baldwin Pops board. Former band directors Harold Clendenin and Robin Isherwood also tour with the group. Current RHS assistant band director Bryant Ramey is a former Pops member, as is former assistant band director Mark Meadows.
This year five seniors from Robertsdale High School are vying for the three scholarship spots available through the Baldwin Pops, Blakely Odom, who is also Harold Clendenin’s grandson; Averianna Erlandson, Rhian Pactor, Houston Hughes and Catherine Power.
“I’m not sure, but I think we have the most students represented this year,” said Hughes. “We also have one or two other students, depending on their schedules, who participate in the group. For us, and for them, it’s simply a way to get more playing time with a group in order to improve.”
This year’s Robertsdale concert will be held beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 and is the first of two free concerts as part of the John W. Allen Memorial Scholarship series.
Named for a local resident who took up music and joined the Baldwin Pops Band in his retirement, the series invites a select group of students from throughout Baldwin County to perform at two concerts with the band every April.
The students must complete an essay, have their director’s recommendation and are selected based on their musical resume. Also part of the requirement is that the applicants must participate in both concerts.
During the second concert, which will be held beginning at 7 p.m. April 22 at Fairhope’s Henry George Park, three scholarships will be given, including a $1,500 scholarship for first place; $1,000 for second and a $500 for third.
Following the two April concerts, the Baldwin Pops will participate in Music and a Movie in the Park beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, May 25 at Foley’s Heritage Park and Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 at Fairhope’s Henry George Park before completing the 2017-18 season with a Fourth of July concert at Henry George Park.
In order to participate in the Baldwin Pops, students must have some type of musical experience, Hughes said. Students vying for the scholarship must pursue some form of music education.
Three of the five RHS students – Rhian Pactor, who will attend Coastal Alabama Community College, Bay Minette in the fall in hopes of eventually transferring to a four-year university; Houston Hughes and Catherine Power, who are both planning to attend the University of South Alabama – will pursue a degree, followed by a career in music education.
“I just want to be able to pass my love of music on to others,” said Hughes, who plans to pursue a degree in music education and hopes to one day be a band director.
Odom, who will also attend USA, is looking to parlay his degree into pursuing his dream of being a professional musician.
“I’m already involved with DCI (Drum Corps International) and plan to pursue a degree in music performance,” he said.
Erlandson, who grew up in a musical family, wants to pursue some type of musical field, but is as yet undecided. She will study at Pensacola State College under former Foley High School band director Don Snowden.
Whatever the students decide to pursue, Lee Hughes said, they are getting a good head start with the Baldwin Pops and with today’s environment at the next level.
“There are so many good programs out there now that are close by, and they are all actively advocating for our local programs,” he said. “With Pensacola State recently being accredited as a four-year state institution and the University of South Alabama just recently starting its music performance program, add the University of Mobile to that mix, and that gives students today opportunities that they didn’t have before.”
If you would like more information about The Baldwin Pops and a complete list of dates and times for its concerts, visit baldwinpopsband.com.