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MUSIC / DANCE : Cypress Pops Hits Light Note

August 27, 1992|CHRIS PASLES | Chris Pasles covers music and dance for The Times Orange County Edition

People wining and dining at the Medieval Times dinner theater in Buena Park probably don't realize it, but while the knights are jousting and the beverages are flowing, the Cypress Pops Orchestra is also playing.

The two-hour original soundtrack that accompanies the show features conductor John Hall and the orchestra in a composition by Dan Friedman and Michael Schwartz. Part of that score will be heard for the first time outside the dinner theater on Saturday, as an encore after the Pops orchestra's concert at Boisseranc Park in Buena Park.

The concert, which also will feature music by John Williams, Richard Rodgers, Tchaikovsky ("1812" Overture, with bells and cannons) and other composers, will mark the orchestra's first visit to Buena Park.

The recording is an orchestra first, as well, and Hall hopes it will help give the group credibility and visibility.

The soundtrack, which "re-creates the whole atmosphere of the show," he said, was recorded in February in three sessions at a studio in Burbank. It will be sold at Medieval Times and at the theater's outlets in other cities, as well as at the orchestra's concerts.

Composers Friedman and Schwartz are friends of the conductor, contracted the Cypress Pops and "now we're on a CD!" Hall said.

Playing music such as this is part of Hall's philosophy of "trying to upgrade the music mentality of people in the area and keep people coming to our programs by doing lighter, quality music.

"It's important that we don't bore our audiences with one style of music," he said.

The orchestra plays about 30% classical music, 35% Broadway music and another 30% "film and novelty solo material, like a flute or a tuba solo," he said.

A graduate in trombone and conducting from the Juilliard School in New York, Hall founded the Cypress Pops in 1989.

Last year, the orchestra operated on a $62,000 budget; this year, Hall said he expects "a small shortfall" on a projected budget of about $98,000. But even so, "we are not a deficit orchestra."

The money comes from the City of Cypress and corporate and private donations. All the concerts are free.

Hall also taught at Cypress College and Compton Community College and leads the Long Beach Community Band. He will incorporate some of the band in the "1812" Overture, which will close the Saturday concert.

The orchestra is a mix of professional, student and community musicians.

"Our musicians like to perform a variety of styles of music," Hall said. "That keeps them entertained and their energy level up and makes them play better."

That variety also has kept down turnover in the group, Hall said. "We have a very strong, consistent core. About 85% of the musicians have been playing in the group since I started it in 1989.

"We also have a very strong following in the audience. Between the type of music we play and the no-cost concept, people are really beginning to know who we are."

What: Cypress Pops Orchestra.

When: Saturday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m.

Where: Boisseranc Park, 7520 Dale St., Buena Park.

Whereabouts: Take the La Palma exit from the Santa Ana (5) Freeway and go west. Take a right on Dale Street and go north about five miles. The park is on the right.

Wherewithal: Admission is free.

Where to Call: (714) 527-0964.

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