At a time when orchestras around the country are in financial trouble, Macon is getting its own pops orchestra. Organizers unveiled plans for their first season and previewed some music Monday at the Macon City Auditorium.
They hope to make the orchestra sustainable with a new business model.
Conductor Matt Catingub runs successful pops orchestras in Honolulu and Los Angles based on the same concept: only about 40 musicians, all of them brought in on contract for just one rehearsal before each performance.
He's bringing it to Macon because his longtime drummer lives here -- Steve Moretti, who's wife Amy Schwartz Moretti directs the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University. The former Moretti will be the executive director of the Macon Pops.
"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.
But they are soliciting gifts. An anonymous donor is offering to match contributions dollar-per-dollar up to $50,000, Moretti said.
The Macon Pops concert-going experience at the City Auditorium will be different from what people expect at a typical symphony pops concert, Catingub said. "Of course you're going to see the orchestra on stage, but you're also going to be sitting at tables right down here, you're also going to be seeing dance floors on either side, and you're going to have a bar and food."
Catingub and Moretti plan to perform pop and jazz standards, but also branch out. One of their first guest performers will be Macon hip hop artist Floco Torres.
The Pops' debut concert is set for October 26.