By Jan Jackson
After a two-year Covid 19 shutdown, on June 12th, 2022, the all-volunteer Salem Oregon Pops Orchestra returned to the stage and presented a live concert that to date has raised $3,000 to help the people of Ukraine. Donations, which came from orchestra members, concert attendees and others, will be administrated through the Red Cross of Ukraine.
Dr. Ike Nail, Director of Instrumental Studies at Western Oregon University and volunteer Music Director for the Salem Pops Orchestra was looking for a way to inspire orchestra members to return to making music.
“We either had to get up and get moving or just sit there and die,” Dr. Nail said. “I mean, we’d been in a coma for two years and we needed a reason to play. Our first rehearsal, on March 8th, only 11 people showed up. It took a while to get going but we just kind of built it back up from there. We always end our concerts with the Stars and Stripes Forever but in June, we played Ukraine’s National Anthem. The decision to help the people of Ukraine was an easy one. Not just because of their needs, but I hate bullies.”
The 30-member volunteer orchestra, that has served the Mid-Willamette Valley for 60-years, performs jazz, pop, light classical, popular music from movies video games. Their first concert for the 2022-2023 season, will be held on Sunday, November 6th.