I just got home from Pops Night at the Sun Valley Symphony, and I am so disappointed. My dismay has nothing to do with the performers, who were all wonderful as usual. It was entirely to do with the program.
For all the years that Pops has been so beloved, concertgoers have looked forward to singing along with the patriotic songs. Until the last few years, these songs were an integral part of the program. More recently, Erich Kunzel would add them as a rousing encore. First, he would honor invited troops currently serving to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they were making on our behalf. Then he would play each military service's song, and all the alumni of that service would stand. Everyone would leave the concert feeling happy and proud of our country.
Sadly, our new Pops conductor was not informed about Sun Valley Pops' long tradition and put no patriotic songs into the concert. Their absence left a regrettable void in the performance. Hopefully, next year the tradition of including patriotic songs will be revived.