For many Weber County residents, the Lindquist Pops Concert and Fireworks Show is a tradition that spans generations. But it’s not just residents bringing their lawn chairs and blankets early to stake out their spot on the lawn who carry the tradition. Some of the performers do too.
Recent Snow College graduate Sarah Pehrson has been coming to the Lindquist Pops Concert and Fireworks since she was a child. Her mother performed in the concert with the New American Philharmonic orchestra, though she admits she wasn’t always as interested in the music as she was the fireworks. Now Pehrson is a violinist in the show.
“It’s fun music and then there’s a fireworks show afterwards,” Pehrson said. “I was coming to this concert all growing up watching these people play. Now I’d come for the atmosphere, for the fun.”
Pehrson’s mother, Nada Pehrson, is still playing with the New American Philharmonic after “23 or 24 years” as a violist. For her, this is the fun show of the concert season.
Unlike usual orchestra concerts which feature classical music, audience members recognize movie tunes throughout the Lindquist Pops Concert, including “Pink Panther” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” according to violist Debbie Collicotte. Audience members may also recognize Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” which features 18 cannons.
Familiar music makes this concert more accessible to audiences of all ages. The music for the Lindquist Pops Concert is also easier than music for other performances, according to all three performers, so it allows the performers to enjoy themselves in a different way than they can with other performances.
“The music is pretty easy and whips out in no time, and it’s just fun,” Nada Pehrson said. “It’s our fun concert.”
For the past eight years, Charles Freshman has been in charge of running the cannon portion of the Lindquist Pops Concert and Fireworks Show. According to Freshman, the cannons and the “1812 Overture” have been a tradition throughout the concert’s nearly 40-year history.
“I’ve known fairly well four members that did it for quite a while, and I went and saw them and … the first time I saw it, I thought I’d get involved eventually,” Freshman said.
Many of the cannons were made by members of the New American Philharmonic orchestra, Freshman said. Over the years, some of the cannon makers have retired from the orchestra. Some chose to donate their cannons, and others have sold them to the cannoning group. Now the group uses the cannons in performances and demonstrations everywhere from Taylorsville to Star Valley, Wyoming, sometimes with ammunition and sometimes without.
According to Freshman, the cannons used during the performance are replicas of Civil War and Revolutionary War cannons. Many were “machined out of surplus World Ward II anti-artillery barrels,” giving the old war material new life, Freshman said.
For the pops concert, the small cannons were loaded with gun powder and grass clippings, which is just enough to scare the ducks, he said.
While fireworks, cannons and live movie music is more than enough to draw a large crowd, Collicotte said she feels that it’s important for community members to come to events like this. Not only do they get to enjoy an evening with family, but they also experience something they might not see otherwise.
“It’s a matter of getting a little culture,” Collicotte said. “This is a very low-key way of hearing an orchestra. It’s a way to dip your toes in the water and test things out. And the cannons are really cool.”