‘Pop’ go the Grosse Pointe student musicians

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 6, 2018

 Members of the Grosse Pointe North chamber orchestra perform during the 2017 Grosse Pointe North High School band and orchestra’s annual Pops and Pastries concert. This year’s Pops and Pastries will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the North gymnasium, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Members of the Grosse Pointe North chamber orchestra perform during the 2017 Grosse Pointe North High School band and orchestra’s annual Pops and Pastries concert. This year’s Pops and Pastries will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the North gymnasium, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods.

File photo by Sean Work

GROSSE POINTE WOODS/GROSSE POINTE PARK — This weekend, the community will have the opportunity to appreciate the talents of local Grosse Pointe Public School System students.

On Nov. 9, the Grosse Pointe South High School choir will have its first-ever A Pop-Up with a Twist. Cornwall Bakery, located in Grosse Pointe Park, and the South Choir Boosters have teamed up to organize the event to raise money to support the choir and also provide dinner.

At press time, there were eight tickets left for the show. A Pop-Up with a Twist will entertain at the Tompkins Center, located at 14920 Windmill Pointe Drive in Grosse Pointe Park. The dinner will feature four courses prepared by three chefs. The waitstaff will be choir students who will perform between courses.

“We wanted to come up with something different this year — something that brings people together for a more meaningful experience than simply writing a check,” South Choir Booster President Megan Gunnell said in a prepared statement. “And nothing creates more togetherness, more connection between people, than sharing a meal together. Especially when it’s presented in an atmosphere of celebration with talented vocalists performing between courses.”

Gunnell and her husband, chef Freeman Gunnell, own Cornwall Bakery. Their son, Elliott, is a junior at South and a member of the Pointe Singers. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and  dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $75 each. To reserve a spot, visit cornwallbakery.com/classes or call (313) 264-1938. A cash bar with beer and wine only will be available.

On the following night, Nov. 10, it will be time for the annual Grosse Pointe North High School band and orchestra’s Pops and Pastries concert at 7 p.m. in the North gymnasium, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Tickets cost $8 for general admission and $4 for seniors and students; children 10 and younger will be admitted for free. This year’s events will mark the first Pops and Pastries for new director of bands Thomas Torrento, who directs the concert, jazz, pep and marching bands at North and Parcells Middle School.

Torrento was hired in June to take over after David Cleveland retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year. In an email, Torrento said Pops and Pastries will feature seven different ensembles showcasing all of the North concert bands and orchestras.

“The theme of the concert is heroes, myths and legends,” Torrento said. “We will perform a varied repertoire of excellent, exciting music that spans all sorts of genres and musical time periods.”

During the show, attendees can purchase an array of assorted desserts. According to Torrento, the concert is the largest fundraiser of the year. The funds are used to bring in clinicians, offset the cost for travel, uniform hemming, scholarships to students who are switching instruments to help balance the band, and more.

For more information on the event, email Torrento at torrent@gpschools.org or Noah Zogus, director of orchestras, at zogasn@gpschools.org.

Grosse Pointe North High School bands are also currently fundraising for new marching band uniforms to reboot the North marching band beginning in the 2019-20 school year.

All donations are tax-deductible and can be sent to the attention of Tom Torrento, director of bands, North High School, 707 Vernier Road, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.