This Is The Last Mashpee Night At The Pops
By: Geoff Spillane
After 20 years of musical fanfare, guest conductors, and fireworks, tomorrow’s annual Mashpee Night at the Pops at 7 o’clock will mark the end of an era. The concert will not be held next year.
“We’ve had a great 20-year run, but the Mashpee Pops Committee made the decision last winter that this would be the last year of the event,” said James Vaccaro, executive producer of Mashpee Night at the Pops, adding that the committee will remain active in the community, continue to produce events, and grant scholarships.
Kenneth E. Marsters, president of the committee and son of the late Earle M. Marsters Sr., who made a significant bequest to the committee to fund events such as Mashpee Night at The Pops, confirmed that this would be the final year of the event.
“We made a proactive decision to discontinue Mashpee Night at the Pops. Eventually, development at Mashpee Commons would have made holding an event with fireworks impossible. If we lost the fireworks display, we would have lost a unique draw to the event, so we decided to end it now and regroup,” Mr. Marsters said.
Staging for the fireworks display requires the closing of Job’s Fishing Road, an increasingly popular connector between Routes 151 and Route 28, for an entire Saturday during the summer season. In addition, Massachusetts law requires that fireworks displays be launched, in general, 250 feet from buildings.
GRAND PLANS FOR THE LAST SHOW
Tomorrow evening, Mashpee Night at the Pops will, literally, go out with a bang.
Gates open at 5 PM, rain or shine, with the concert starting at 7 PM. The fireworks display will begin immediately following the concert.
“In addition to a great musical program, we will have our largest pyrotechnics display ever. There will be 40 percent more fireworks,” event producer James Vaccaro said.
Entitled “A Celebration Featuring Broadway, Americana, and Flag-Waving Patriotism,” the concert will feature the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, now in its 64th season, conducted by James Orten. Maestro Orten has been a frequent guest conductor with the Boston Symphony for more than 25 years, and serves on the conducting faculty of the Boston Conservatory. In 2010, he conducted the Boston Pops on national television during game five of the NBA Finals at the TDBank Garden, and led the Pops during the telecast celebration of the Red Sox’ 2007 World Series championship.
The orchestra will be backed by more than 65 members of the Jubilate Chorale of Southeastern Massachusetts, and the program will also include performances by Colom Cille Pipes and Drums, and the Broadway tune-singing duo of brothers Will and Anthony Nunziata.
Scheduled for performance are selections from “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story.”
Each year during the concert, the $10,000 Donna Lynn Yanoff Scholarship is presented to a graduating high school senior from Mashpee who will be pursuing a career in fine, applied, creative, or performing arts. This year’s recipient is Melissa Hargadon, a 2011 Mashpee High School graduate who will be attending Hampshire College this fall, where she will be majoring in music education with a concentration in voice.
Ample free community seating is available for tomorrow’s event, and attendees are welcome to bring their own food and beverages. Parking will be available at the Quashnet and K.C. Coombs schools, which are easily accessible to Mashpee Commons via a walking path.
A limited number of reserved tables and terrace seats, with access to the beverage tent, are available for purchase at www.mashpeepops.com or by calling 508-539-2345.
Mr. Marsters also noted that the economic environment of the past few years also played a role in the decision, as there were fewer patrons, making it very difficult to produce such an extensive, costly performance.
Mr. Marsters and Mr. Vaccaro did not rule out that a concert program, albeit not a traditional Pops concert, may be “reinvented” and held at a different venue at some point in the future.
“We’ve looked for a different venue in Mashpee that could accommodate a large fireworks display, but have not been able to find one,” Mr. Marsters said, noting that the committee will continue to be very active, and has plans to create a major holiday season event in Mashpee.
The Mashpee Community Picnic and Fireworks are held at Mashpee High School in July, but the school grounds would not be an appropriate, or legal, location for an event that features the sale of alcoholic beverages.
“It’s a great event, I’m sorry to see it go. It was a nice night out that reminded me of the old days on Cape Cod when everyone knew each other,” Mashpee Board of Selectmen Chairman Wayne R. Taylor said.
According to Douglas S. Storrs, vice president of Mashpee Commons Limited Partnership, Mashpee Night at the Pops was a great way to introduce people to the Town of Mashpee and it was smart planning, from a safety perspective, for the committee to be thinking ahead about the event venue and future development.
“It has been a fabulous, highly successful event for 20 years. Let’s sit back and enjoy the music this weekend,” added Mr. Storrs.
Mr. Marsters expressed his thanks and gratitude to Mashpee Commons, concert sponsors, and producers James Vaccaro and Chris Ball for their commitment and dedication during the past two decades.
“My dad’s spirit will live on through our other programs. Hopefully, when the music stops on Saturday night we will have left 20 years of smiles, happiness, and memories with Mashpee residents and visitors,” Mr. Marsters said earlier this week.