A group of the orchestra’s musicians set up shop next to the Clarendon Metro station and invited random passersby to pick up a baton and conduct them. Their guest conductors ranged from small children to senior citizens.
“As we launch our 11th season, we want to raise our profile in the community,” said the Philharmonic’s president, Anne Wengrovitz.
The orchestra’s concerts are free and open to all ages, with donations accepted. Sunday’s concert, which will feature a collaboration with local dance troupe Bowen McCauley Dance, will be held at 4 p.m. at the Kenmore Middle School Auditorium (200 S. Carlin Springs Road).
The inaugural event will be held at Lubber Run Amphitheater this Sunday, June 29, starting at 6:00 p.m.
Attendees can bring their dogs and a picnic meal, or buy boxed dinners from La Cote d’Or onsite. The AWLA will also hold a raffle for a birdhouse replica of the Lincoln-era White House. The philharmonic will play “marches and animal-related classics” from pieces by Aaron Copland, John Philip Sousa and Johann Sebastian Bach, according to an AWLA press release.
“Both of our organizations are really quite enthused about this, so we’ll see what the public response is,” John Ratigan, board chair of the philharmonic, said. The philharmonic and the AWLA hope “Pops for Pets” will become an annual event.
A combination of the open amphitheater and “accessible” music selection, Ratigan said, makes this event more of a crowd-pleaser than a typical orchestral performance.
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette’s 13-year-old Border Collie-mix, Cassie, will serve as honorary co-chair of the event.
“She is like a little Buddah,” Fisette said of his dog, which he found on the street while visiting family in Texas.
Concert-goers’ donations will go toward funding the event and “the missions of both organizations,” AWLA Board Chair Pat Ragan said. “It’ll be a great community event.”
Following its 7oth Anniversary Summer Soiree, “Pops for Pets” will continue to celebrate both AWLA’s anniversary and their on-going efforts to find homes and provide care for over 3,000 animals.
AWLA was founded during World War II, and the foresight of the founders is not lost on AWLA President and CEO Neil Trent.
“Back in the ’40s they thought of this in a coffee shop with a war going on,” Trent said. “They said hey, let’s help animals… and they weren’t sitting at the corner Starbucks either.”
Retractable leashes will not be allowed at the event. In the event of inclement weather, “Pops for Pets” will be rescheduled for Tuesday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m.