San Pedro’s Golden State Pops gear up for 15th anniversary concert

“We’re hoping to grow the program and our ultimate goal is to include the Wilmington and San Pedro sites and maybe some other students from the Harbor Area.”It all blends in with the orchestra’s philosophy of bringing accessible, professional music to the community.Humble beginningsThe orchestra has come far since its beginnings, Fox said.“It’s gone from an organization that myself and a couple other people were doing whatever we could to put on a concert on stage with whatever musicians we could find,” he said. “We work with them in a small ensemble setting,” Fox said.

The concert will include plenty of singing.“It’s going to be two hours of really pure fun for the audience, hearing song after song after song with 99 percent of the program singing,” said Steven Allen Fox, artistic director and conductor of the orchestra.Warner Grand home base“We were very lucky to find (the Warner Grand) when we did,” Fox said.Working with theater manager Lee Sweet and Liz Schindler Johnson of the Grand Vision Foundation, Golden State Pops signed on with the theater in 2004 — two years after the orchestra was formed — and continues to consider it the group’s home base while branching out lately to perform on other stages.

“As we grow, our goal is to continue to do three to four concerts a year at the Warner Grand,” Fox said. “Looking far into the future, we really have every plan to continue with the theater and doing performances there even while expanding to other venues.”Boys and Girls Club outreachBut the group’s vision includes more than concerts.The orchestra recently established an outreach to local Boys and Girls Clubs, sending musicians twice a week to help work with aspiring music students who might not otherwise be able to take lessons or afford instruments.
Saturday that will feature guests Carol Connors (conducting “Gonna Fly Now” from “Rocky”) and songwriter Frank Stallone (performing “Take You Back” from “Rocky” and “Far From Over” from “Staying Alive”), along with music from “The Bodyguard,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Titanic” and “One Fine Day.” When the Golden State Pops Orchestra inked a deal with the Warner Grand Theatre, it was a coup for downtown San Pedro.Purchased by the city of Los Angeles in 1969, the historic 1930s-era theater was trying to find its niche for modern audiences.The energetic and upbeat repertoire of film music and other familiar pieces appeared to be a good fit. And so it was.The GSPO will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a concert at 8 p.m.