Smile Politely

Free Urbana Pops concert features Peter & the Wolf and Frozen

Urbana Pops Orchestra’s first concert of its 2015 season, Once Upon a Tune, is Saturday, June 13th at 7 p.m. at Urbana Middle School. It will include the premiere of UPO’s composition contest and music from the animated film Frozen as well as time-honored classics such as the William Tell Overture, the first movement from Mozart’s clarinet concerto, and Peter and the Wolf narrated by WILL’s Roger Cooper.

“All of our Pops concerts are family friendly, but this one is especially so because of the music being performed,” said Debra Levey Larson, UPO board president. “For example, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is both beautiful music and educational. As the narrator tells the story, children learn the sounds of the various orchestra instruments. And many kids will recognize the music from Frozen, but will also get to see it performed.

“We’re inviting families to bring their kids with their favorite stuffed toy at 6:30 to listen to a pre-concert bedtime story in the UMS lobby with staff from Urbana Free Library,” Larson said. The concert will run without an intermission so it will be shorter and the free admission makes the price right for families.

Urbana High School rising senior Henry Ando will perform the first movement of Mozart’s popular Clarinet Concerto. Ando studies with Karen DeBauche, and has had lessons from Howard Klug at Indiana University. He has played in Urbana Pops Orchestra since 2012 and the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra since 2011.

The orchestra is led by Principal Conductor Daniel F. Southerland and Associate Conductor Stephen L. Larson.

At the June 13th concert the orchestra will also premier “Birds of Prey” by Joshua Iyer – winner of this year’s composition contest. Iyer is a 2015 graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora. He is the recipient of the National School Orchestra Award and won third place in the Illinois Music Education Association composition contest.

On Saturday, July 5 at 7 p.m., the Urbana Pops Jazz Orchestra will appear at Lincoln Square. This concert is also free and will include a preview of the Urbana Park District’s Youth Summer Theatre production, The Pajama Game.

The 2015 Urbana Pops Orchestra season is supported in part by a City of Urbana Arts Grant and a grant from the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois.

Urbana Pops Orchestra is affiliated with the Urbana Park District and Urbana School District #116. For more information, visit

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