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Atlantic Pops to present 22nd annual Toy Drive Concert at Egg Harbor Township Community Center

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Atlantic Pops will join the Egg Harbor Township High School Vocal Ensemble and the Cygnus Contemporary Dance Ensemble to bring sights and sounds of the holiday season to the community.

For more than two decades, Atlantic Pops has presented this concert not only as an opportunity to entertain the public, but also to collect toys and gifts for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Once again, the 90-member ensemble will collaborate with the dance ensemble from Cygnus Creative Arts to present the Mannheim Steamroller favorite "Fairies," an up-beat contemporary new-age version of Tchaikovsky’s "Nutcracker." Conducting the band will be Fernwood band director and Egg Harbor Township Marching Band drumline instructor Marc Spatz.

Cygnus Artistic Director and choreographer Cindy Domino always enjoys working with the Pops. “We love that we are able interpret the music of a live orchestra as opposed to a piano player or even simply a recording. It makes the performance truly authentic, and it gives the audience an opportunity to hear what they see and see what they hear in an artistic fashion," she said.

Another community-music collaboration for the evening will take place between the Egg Harbor Township High School Vocal Ensemble and the community band as they perform a John Rutter carol.

Dale Roeck, the new choir director at the high school, a 2017 New York University graduate, will make his community debut, bringing his finest vocalists from the high school to the Pops. In addition to his duties as choir director, Roeck is a trumpet player with the group.

Also programmed for the show is the "Home Alone Suite," which features the music of John Williams from the famous Macaulay Culkin movie, as well as a brand new work for band titled "Journey to Planet X (mas)," an interplanetary fusion of Star Wars and several traditional carols.

Associate conductor and high school marching band director Ben Fong will lead the band in Alfred Reeds' traditional "Christmas Celebration," a medley of carols that will equally challenge the musicians and embody the holiday spirit.

The concert will close with the famous Hollywood Bowl version of "America the Beautiful" as a tribute and remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day, which once again falls on the evening of the annual concert.

Music Director Mark Kadetsky said he is happy to see so many teachers, students and ensembles from throughout the school community working together to bring the event to fruition. In keeping with the school district’s goals of community involvement and student achievement, “the community involvement aspect of the concert is, to us, as important as the music itself,” he said.

The concert will take place 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Cygnus Creative Arts Centre, 5045 English Creek Ave. Admission to the concert is a $5 donation and optional gift — a new toy or clothing wrapped or unwrapped, labeled for boy or girl with sizes if wrapped. The gifts will be collected by the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. To date, it is estimated that more than 3,000 toys have made their way to the Rescue Mission as a result of this event.

The Atlantic Pops made their Carnegie Hall debut in February and has been the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Cygnus Creative Arts Centre for a nearly decade. Now in its 21st season, the group consists of 90-plus music teachers, community members and students from Atlantic, Cape, Gloucester, Ocean and Cumberland counties.

Editorial Administrative Assistant

Started working with the Press in the Circulation Department in 2006 and moved to Editorial in 2008. Previously worked in Circulation and Advertising at the Asbury Park Press.

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