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home : features : arts & entertainment October 6, 2015

1/16/2013 9:25:00 AM
POPS Symphony concert to benefit 'Hungry Kids'
The Prescott POPS Symphony performs the “The Many Moods of Christmas” Dec. 14, 2012, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center in Prescott.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
The Prescott POPS Symphony performs the “The Many Moods of Christmas” Dec. 14, 2012, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center in Prescott.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
Lisa Irish
Special to the Tribune

Prescott POPS Symphony is performing a concert to benefit the Hungry Kids Project - something the entire orchestra got behind.

"An oboe player told me, 'This is to near and dear to my heart. I really want to do this,'" conductor and music director Paul Manz said.

The community is invited to Prescott POPS Symphony's No More Hungry Kids benefit concert 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon Ave., in Prescott.

The POPS will perform James Bond movie themes, a tribute to Henry Mancini, songs from "The Sound of Music," and a salute to Big Bands.

Piano soloist Christina Cuda-Robertson will play "Juba Dance" by Nathaniel Dett and "Un Sospiro" by Franz Liszt, and Linda and Darrell Rowader will sing three songs from "Porgy and Bess."

The Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery will contribute about 25 art pieces for a silent auction during the concert.

Tickets are $24 and are available at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center box office, online at, or by phone at 776-2000, and tickets will also be available at the door. The concert is a special event and not part of the season ticket package.

All proceeds will go to the Hungry Kids Project, which provides backpacks full of food each Friday to children in need in the Chino Valley, Humboldt and Prescott Unified School Districts.

"We have such great musicians here, the people in the community are so giving, and we have a lot of people coming together to help kids," said Dr. Jim Howard, president of the Prescott POPS Symphony. "If we fill the place, we'll raise $24,000 for the Hungry Kids Project."

Howard, a volunteer with the Hungry Kids Project, said he works on a team that meets Friday morning at the Prescott School District's Food Service building.

There they pack two nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for children in need identified by school officials to take home at the end of school on Friday to eat over the weekend.

"We are so grateful for the benefit concert and people's donations," said Ron Barnes, founder of the Hungry Kids Project. "The project has kept growing since it started in 2010. We now serve 80 children in the Chino Valley Unified School District, 75 in Humboldt and 129 in Prescott."

The number of children served has doubled in the past two years, Barnes said, adding that the project is funded through grants and donations to each school district's educational foundation, which are 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

"We're supported by donations only; we don't get taxpayer dollars," Carm Staker, coordinator for the Humboldt program, emphasized.

Staker said a rotating group of six volunteers takes about an hour to assemble the backpacks each Friday at the Prescott Valley Methodist Church.

"We started with two elementary schools, and now serve three - Lake Valley, Mountain View and Coyote Springs," Staker said, adding with a smile, "Please buy tickets to the concert."

She also said more volunteers, as well as donations, always are welcome. People can call her at 928-772-9563 for information on either.

Manz said when he talks to conductors around the world about the relationship between the Prescott POPS Symphony and the school district, "I see nothing but admiration from other directors wishing they had that kind of relationship. We have something really special here."

Cheryl Hartz contributed to this article.

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