Polkas, waltzes, a rhumba, reel and march. "Could I Have this Dance?," the Minot Symphony Orchestra's Pops Concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. covers all the bases. Director Dennis Simons is ending the season with dances from classical and contemporary composers, along with a violin concerto featuring the high school senior honors winner Erin Neumann. "This Dvorak concerto is not as often played as his others," said Simons, "but it desperately needs to be. It's in good hands with Erin."
Simons opens the evening with a Bohemian number from the comic opera "The Bartered Bride," by Smetana, "Three Dances," followed by the Dvorak concerto. "We slow it down with two Brahms waltzes, with some of the most glorious tunes," said Simons. "You'll be humming them as you go out." The players speed up again for "Hopak," by Mussorgsky, which is a Ukrainian folk dance. "Hopak" means "jump" in Russian. Then come lyric Richard Strauss waltzes from "Der Rosenkavalier." "The first half ends with a tongue-in-cheek polka," said Simons, referring to Shostakovich's polka from "The Age of Gold Suite." "It's absurd, it's outrageous, and it always puts a smile on the faces of the musicians as they rehearse it," he said, "so I think the audience will enjoy it, too."
Speaking of the first selection after the intermission, Simons remarked that the symphony had done Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" not so long ago, so he decided it was time for the composer's "March Slav."
"In fact, I really planned the concert around this number," he said. "Then, because you always get dances in groups of three, I have two sets of three dances together." The first set is Brahm's "Hungarian Dance," Alven's "Swedish Polka" and Benjamin's "Jamaican Rhumba." The second set is "Chicken Reel" by Leroy Anderson, "Champagne Galop" by Hans-Christian Lumbye and the "Thunder and Lightning Polka" by Johann Strauss, Jr.
"We end with the traditional "Armed Forces Salute" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever," and that will end the celebration of my 10 years here with the Minot Symphony Orchestra," Simons said.
The concert prices vary according to seat selection, and reservations may be made by calling 858-4228.
Minot Symphony Orchestra patrons are invited to join Erik Anderson and special guests for a pre-concert lecture in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, starting at 6:30 on the evening of the concert. This presentation includes an inside look at the symphony program for the evening, and what to listen for during the performance. Admission is free with a season ticket or $5 per person, $10 per family without season tickets. MSU faculty, staff and students are free.