Pops at the Post Returns: June 4th at Bell Tower Green

by | May 10, 2022 | Arts, Family

Pops at the Post is back after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.

No one is happier about that than David Hagy, Salisbury Symphony’s maestro, who planned a full program for a 9-11 remembrance in 2021.
On June 4, “Celebrating Rowan Community Champions” will honor area philanthropists and the medical community, who are still dealing with the pandemic.
It will also celebrate local philanthropists, including the late Paul Fisher, who worked so hard to make Salisbury and Rowan County a better community.

The biggest feature will be the performance site, Bell Tower Green (Visit Bell Tower Green’s Facebook Page). Where once people sat in an asphalt parking lot, now they will be in the grass of the park to enjoy the evening.

Salisbury Swing Band will perform at 5 p.m. on the stage at the park. At 7:30, the Symphony will be in their favorite spot, the loading dock at the Salisbury Post building.

“We’ll be on the loading dock, where we are protected even if it rains,” Hagy says. “It’s special in so many ways. It’s delightful to find different uses for something in the community, the acoustics are stunning, the four eaves project the string sounds, the orchestra can hear themselves. It’s a pleasure to perform there.”

Pops at the Post

While Bell Tower Green was under construction, the Pops was held in the Back Shop at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. This year, they return to the Salisbury Post loading dock and the green.

Pops at the Post

The audience for Pops at the Post used to set up chairs in the parking lot of the former bank that is now Bell Tower Green. Jon Lakey photo.

The Park Has Much to Offer

Hunter Scott Safrit, the Salisbury Symphony’s executive director, (Visit Salisbury Symphony’s Facebook Page) says “people will put chairs down for the (Swing Band) toward the Bell Tower Green stage, then they can turn around to see the Symphony.”

The audience will have a lot more things available, Safrit says, “better scenery, for one thing,” vendors with food and crafts, and the playground area for children.

“Musicians are extremely happy to perform live. We’ve had three live concerts this season and each time we’re seeing more and more people. They enjoy playing for crowds.”

“The Pops draws the most diverse group of people who enjoy all kinds of music,” Safrit says, and “people travel not just from Rowan County, but nearby areas, especially because the concert is free.”

The goal of this year’s performance is “to honor all the area people who helped support us during the pandemic, the healthcare workers and other essential employees.

“Salisbury Symphony’s mission is to educate, entertain, inspire and educate through music. Pops is one of the great ways to achieve that mission. We’re extremely grateful for the board who helps us raise funds for this concert.”

The audience will hear traditional favorites and some music that was planned for the canceled September 2021 concert.

Pops at the Post Logo

The 2022 Pops at the Post will be June 4, returning to the Salisbury Post dock and Bell Tower Green Park.

What You’ll Hear

A color guard will present the flag, and the Symphony will perform composer John Williams’ arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which Hagy calls “pretty amazing.”

“Because we are finally at Bell Tower Green, we’re starting with the ‘Bell Tower March’ by John Stafford, which premiered four years ago. We’ll be using the bell in the tower this year.”

Three works will celebrate philanthropists, with the “Academic Festival Overture” by Brahms, written as a gift to a university offering him an honorary degree. “That’s appropriate, it borrows student songs” and it is graduation season.


When Hagy spoke to Steve Fisher about what his late father liked, he said Paul loved Sinatra and anything patriotic. The Pops will do an arrangement of “My Way,” with six different singers, including Lonnie Carpenter, Mark Stephenson, John Stafford, Jonathan Lodgek, Quentin Woodard, and Bill Bucher.  

Hagy also found a work that’s a cross of pops and classical work, “Commemoration,” by Robert Wendel, that will tie the philanthropists together.

The rest of the first half will celebrate doctors, with a medley that includes the theme from M*A*S*H*, the main title from Quincy, MD, the main theme from Doogie Howser, MD, and the theme from the Robin Williams’ movie, Patch Adams.

The final piece of the first half will be by Alexandr Borodin, who was a chemist, a doctor and a composer, an excerpt from his opera Prince Igor, The Polovtsian Dances, the source of many songs heard in the musical Kismet, including the theme from Strangers in Paradise.


Honoring Ukraine

The second half begins with “Fanfare for Freedom” by the Ukrainian composer Steve Levetkin. The next piece will be a tribute to the film composer, with themes to 23 different movies from the 1930s to the last decade.

As is traditional, the concert winds up with the “1812 Overture” with the canon and downtown bells, followed by the “Salisbury Post March.” Two encores are planned if needed.

A large video screen will replace the inflatable screens from years past to offer a better view with the new park’s lights. Miller Davis Agency will handle the video.

Eats and drinks

Also new this year is the downtown social district, which will allow for alcohol consumption. Joe Morris, co-chair of the Pops committee, says both New Sarum (Visit New Sarum’s Facebook Page) and Morgan Ridge Rail Walk breweries are invited to the concert. This will be a first for the park.

Morris says a flyover by the National Guard is planned, and the helicopter will land nearby and be available for people to explore.

The Pops, Morris says, “gave us confidence in the Bell Tower Green people who did such a phenomenal job. We demonstrated a community need for an outside space and performance area.”

Morris thinks the Pops concert has a regional and statewide appeal. “I’m looking forward to a triumphant return to Downtown Salisbury.”

Audrey Eudy, co-chair, says vendors include Cheerwine, as always, This Little Piggy BBQ Smokehouse, Som’s meat on a stick, Mister Cone ice cream and milkshakes, among others.

“The Swing Band will be on stage for the first time. That’s new for us, and we’re excited to see how people use the area.” In addition to park bathrooms, five portable toilets will be available.

“SE Systems will put more speakers in the park so it will project through the area.” Eudy says it will be an experiment this year, to see how the park works. “We really want to get ideas on what we can improve and hope people will let us know what they want to see in the future.”

There will be a few tailgating spots along East Fisher Street in front of Rowan Public Library. Some spots are standing reservations, but reservations open up Wednesday for any spaces that are left. The cost for a space is $125, with $100 of that tax-deductible.

If you haven’t been to Bell Tower Green or heard Pops at the Post, this will be a great year to check it out.

About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.