The capacity to be present is truly a gift as it allows us to appreciate the events of the moment, enjoy the people in our company and take in all the information our senses provide. The annual Holiday Pops concert offers a shared experience in the context of a caring community.

The 2010 Holiday Pops, a benefit for United Mid-Coast Charities, combines some of the best talent in the Midcoast with some of the finest classical musicians in the state. It is set for Sunday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. at the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School, Route 90.

The concert features Maine Pro Musica, a professional Maine orchestra founded by Janna Hymes of Rockport, its conductor and music director. Loren Field, who plays French horn in Maine Pro Musica, said Hymes has pulled out all the stops in both musicianship and programming for this year’s Holiday Pops.

“The musical selections have broad-based seasonal appeal that will strike a resonant chord in everyone attending,” Field said.

Missy Vigue plays flute in the orchestra and is the mother of two young boys, and said the annual concert is a tradition for her family.

“I can attest that this is a tremendous chance to engage our youngest generation in the performing arts — with music that is fun to play, listen to and sing — and with the bonus visit of Santa at the end,” she said.

In addition to Maine Pro Musica, instrumental music will be provided by the Penobscot Bay Ringers handbell choir, which has been associated with the Holiday Pops concert since its inception in 2008. Vocals will be provided by a number of local singers including soloist Hannah Batley; a chorus made up of both adults and children from the community; and the audience itself, which will join in on several sing-alongs.

Where there is sound, there must be movement and the Holiday Pops keeps the Strom stage alive with performances from Swing and Sway Dancing ballroom dance studio in Rockland; and Rockport Dance Conservatory, back for its second year.

“Giving back to our community is so important, especially during the holiday season. United Mid-Coast Charities provides great local support and Rockport Dance Conservatory is pleased to share our talents to enhance this program for a good cause,” said dancer Sally Leighton.

By attending the 2010 Holiday Pops, concertgoers also are attending to many needs of their Midcoast neighbors through the 50 agencies supported by United Mid-Coast Charities. For 69 years, UMCC has been a valued and very present source of assistance to the local community. The agencies supported by United Mid-Coast Charities include the University of Maine campuses in Rockland and Belfast and a variety of other organizations serving Knox and Waldo counties.

Holiday Pops tickets are $35 and $20 for adults, depending on seating location, and $10 or $8 for children. They are available at the Grasshopper Shop, Rockland; HAV II, Owl & Turtle and KAX Office Center, Camden; Northern Kingdom Music, Rockport; The Green Store, Belfast; online at; or by calling 236-2299. They also will be available at the door.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to