The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra prepares a pop concert for Labor Day | Music

The Macon County Honor Guard presents the colors during the 2021 Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Pop Concert.


DECATUR — The traditional last days of summer will end where the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra season begins.

“The Labor Day Pops Concert is the first concert of the year,” said William McClain, conductor and director of MDSO.

Under the theme “Family, fun and fantastic music,” the holiday concert will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater in Nelson Park.

“The program is designed to appeal to a broad audience,” McClain said. “You don’t have to be a music expert or an orchestra fan to enjoy it.”

The show will include popular theme songs from films such as “Star Wars” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Other elements of the program will include Tchaikovsky’s finale of “1812 Overture,” a tribute to the metropolitan cities of New York and Chicago, and the traditional Salute to the Armed Forces with the Macon County Honor Guard presenting the Flag of the nation.

“We take music from movies, theater and patriotic music to create a great fun program that everyone will enjoy,” the conductor said.

The vacation program is suitable for families of all ages, according to McClain. The open lawn at the back of the hall will be left for children to play and dance while the orchestra performs.

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“One of my favorite things as a bandleader is to turn around and see little kids dancing to the music we’re playing,” McClain said. “These are our future musicians.”

Last year’s Labor Day pop concert was a comeback for the Community Symphony.

“It was the first time the orchestra could come together with a live audience,” McClain said.

MDSO Labor Day Concert

Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra conductor William McClain conducts the symphony during the 2021 Labor Day Pops concert at the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater.


After nearly three years as director of the MDSO, McClain finally had the opportunity to settle down. In addition to being the conductor of the local orchestra, he is a professor at Millikin University.

“That year before, it was more about getting acclimated to a new state and getting used to a new job post-pandemic,” he said. “This third year is the first time I can really focus on my teaching and my connection to the community.”

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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