Sugar Pops Orchestra is a jewel in the community

Conductor Peter Fuchs has been a musical director and conductor with orchestras for more years than he can remember. He has arranged more than 70 Broadway musicals, and if you name a theater star, chances are, he’s worked with them. Now he’s talking about a project that might not be as glamorous as the bright lights of Broadway, but it’s just as important to him.

Fuchs is conductor of the Sugar Pops Orchestra, a community symphonic orchestra, which performs at the Township Center for the Performing Arts. “The importance of a symphony orchestra in a community is as important as good schools, educational facilities, museums and libraries,” he says. “It is part of the reputation of a community when people are deciding on a suitable place to settle and to raise a family. The Sugar Pops Orchestra is a cultural institution.”

He speaks with pride about the orchestra founded by Coral Springs resident and professional musician and conductor Sy Sugar, who, in the 1970s, formed an orchestra of retired musicians called Sy Sugar’s Pops Orchestra. Today, the Sugar Pops Orchestra is much the same—about 50 musicians perform pop and classical music.

Kathleen Crotty, the orchestra’s principal clarinetist and South Creek resident, retired three years ago after 31 years as the band director at Plantation Middle School. “In between teaching, I was playing with some of the orchestras, such as the Broward Symphony,” she says. Since retiring, she’s begun playing with the Sugar Pops Orchestra, as well as continuing performances with the Sunrise Symphonic Pops Orchestra. “I’ve seen orchestras evolve from classical music to playing programs that people want to come and hear. They want to be able to recognize the tune,” she says. “Peter is realizing this move to entertainment and he wants the audience to continue coming to see us, and that means getting younger people interested, too.”

Fuchs says audiences get to enjoy some of the country’s finest musicians who are at the best level of their careers, playing with the Sugar Pops Orchestra. “Many wonderful musicians retire here to South Florida and they’ve played with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Symphony, the Boston Pops, and the first thing they do is look around for some place to play,” Fuchs says. “We are like a family, but the quality of music is professional. We’re not intimidating. We don’t play heavy works like serious symphonic orchestras. We make it palatable and enjoyable. It’s so wonderful to hear live musicians and watch live performers.”

DON’T MISS

Check out these performances and events throughout the month:

“Cabaret”

Jan. 10-22

Broward Center

Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell

Jan. 13

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

Earl Turner

Jan. 13

Township Center for the Performing Arts

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals

Jan. 17

Coral Springs Center for the Arts

Lewis Black

Jan. 19

Coral Springs Center for the Arts

Kenny Rogers

Jan. 24

Broward Center

Gladys Knight

Jan. 27

Broward Center

Vocal Trash

Feb. 2 & 3

Township Center for the Performing Arts

Sugar Pops Orchestra

Where: Township Center for the
Performing Arts, 2452 Lyons Road

Tickets: $25; $60 for three-show subscriptions

When: Jan. 22, Feb. 19 and March 19. All shows are on Sundays at 2 p.m.

Programs: Jan. 22: “The Sounds of Angels” with pan flute virtuoso Constantin Moscovich and soprano Kyaunnee Richardson

Feb. 19: “Italian Bel Canto Meets Jazz and Pops” with tenor Rinaldo Toglia and local jazz singer Chloe Dolandis, who performs jazz and pop standards

March 19: “Broadway and Patriotic Concert” with vignettes from Broadway shows and a patriotic medley written and arranged by Peter Fuchs