POPulus rocks Dothan Opera House with three performances

POPulus, Troy University's pop music ensemble, played three shows at the Dothan Opera House on Tuesday.

POPulus, Troy University's pop music ensemble, played three shows at the Dothan Opera House on Tuesday.

Much of the audience found themselves leaving their seats and clapping furiously as POPulus played an assortment of tunes Tuesday at the Dothan Opera House.

POPulus, Troy University’s pop music ensemble, kicked off this year’s TROY Tuesdays, a series of performances at the historic Dothan Opera House designed to bring the College of Communication and Fine Arts to the Wiregrass area.

Two morning shows saw the POPulus members performing in front of around 400 area school children, while a public performance at 7 p.m. had a wider age range.

The one consistency across the shows, however, was the excitement of the audience. It was an experience that will further the development of POPulus, which consists of TROY students, many of whom are in the music industry program.

“This is a really incredible experience, because we’re teaching not just being great musicians, but we’re teaching entertainment,” said Robert W. Smith, coordinator of TROY’s music industry program and director of POPulus, after the second performance. “We’re talking about connecting with any audience. For these students, they get a chance to connect with people from age 6 to 80 today, and to really make a connection — to touch somebody’s heart and soul — that’s really the goal. It’s so much more than just the music, it’s that human connection.”

POPulus played songs from a variety of genres, including rock, country and funk. In addition to covers of songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” the group played original songs written by the band members.

They also made adjustments from each show to the next, learning and studying how different audiences react to different songs.

“They’re learning to connect,” Smith said. “For instance, when does that last chord come in to make the crowd respond? We made a slight adjustment between the first and second show, and all of a sudden, there’s a bigger impact and effect. We teach them, ‘Don’t do it until it’s right, do it until it’s never wrong.’”

TROY Tuesdays will continue on Nov. 14 with a play presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance.