URBANA — The Urbana Pops Orchestra's concert "Made in the U.S.A." at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Urbana High School auditorium will feature music by American composers.
Admission is free, thanks to an arts grant from the city of Urbana.
Because the concert comes so soon after the July 4 holiday, principal conductor Daniel Southerland and others chose the patriotic theme.
"One of the pieces we'll play at this concert is an armed forces medley," he said. "It's a very powerful way to honor veterans because the audience participates."
Southerland said veterans will be asked to stand and be recognized as the theme of their branch of the service is played.
The concert also will feature a preview of the Urbana Park District's Youth Summer Theatre Program production of "The Music Man." Backed by the orchestra, cast members will sing selections from the famed musical.
"Most people probably know '76 Trombones' or 'Shipoopi' from Robert Meredith Willson's 'The Music Man,' but there are also some beautiful ballads such as 'Till There Was You' and even songs sung by a strolling barbershop quartet such as 'Lida Rose' that will be familiar," said Stephen Larson, the orchestra's associate conductor.
He will conduct members of Urbana Pops in the pit orchestra for the park district production of "The Music Man" later in July.
Another highlight of the Saturday concert will be George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," performed by local pianist Ian Gindes, who has a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Ian Hobson.
Gindes also serves as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army National Guard and has given performances to raise funds for families of soldiers.
The Urbana Pops Orchestra is affiliated with the Urbana park and school districts. For more information, visit http://www.UrbanaPops.org.