Fireworks to cap off annual Pops! symphony concert

Ashley Rodgers, then 3, dances to the tunes of Symphony Orchestra Augusta in 2011. This year's Pops! Under the Stars has moved to the Lady Antebellum Pavilion.

Patrons can expect the 2012 Pops! Under the Stars concert Saturday, May 12, to end with a bang.


As in the past, the Symphony Orchestra Augusta’s performance will end with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. New this year, however, will be a fireworks display to accompany the pieces.

“We’re excited about it,” said symphony Executive Director Sandra Self.

This year’s event has moved to the Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park, and Self said the audience can anticipate several additions.

Table seating for six people in front of the Josh Kelley Stage can now be reserved for $250, which includes wine and dessert.

An area for children, with crafts, storytelling and an instrument “petting zoo” is another added feature.

While the full orchestra won’t take the stage until 7:30 p.m., gates to the park open at 4 p.m.

The U.S. Army Signal Corps Band will perform from 6:30-7 p.m.

In the past, the free concert was held at the University Health Care System’s Evans campus. But by moving the event to the new park, the need to build a stage is eliminated, Self said.

The park also is centrally located and has adequate parking surrounding it, she added.

The pavilion area can accommodate about 5,000 people.

“I love when I go by there,” Self said. “There’s just people there all the time.”

The concert’s main sponsors are University Health Care System and Columbia County.

Led by Maestro Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara, the orchestra will perform familiar pieces from cartoons, film and TV.

The concert opens with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and includes selections from Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart.

The casual performance is a way for area residents to celebrate spring and relax with friends and family, Self said.

“People bring their dogs, their families,” she said. “It’s just a sweet thing. You see kids playing around while we’re performing.”

Food, beverages and wine can be purchased during the concert.

If bad weather seems likely the day of the event, a decision to move it to Abilene Baptist Church will be made by 3 p.m.

Patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, but coolers and glass items are not allowed.

For information, call (706) 826-4705 or visit


WHAT: Pops! Under the Stars

WHEN: May 12, gates open at 4 p.m., begins at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Lady Antebellum Pavilion, Evans

DETAILS: (706) 826-4705,