By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
Thirty years is a long time to be making music together.
Missouri City Pops, a group of diverse musicians who perform year-round all over Fort Bend County, play together, laugh together and overall, have a really good time together.
They play oldies, current hits, show tunes, classics, movie themes, big band, and holiday music. The enthusiastic performers bring their upbeat music to schools, malls, church halls, homes and public parks, and mix in their own special brand of fun.
“We got together in 1987 with the idea that the fun of playing music is considered far to important to be left to professionals,” Band Director Linda Stiegler said.
Founders Kristi and Glen Norman, along with Stiegler, and other members, play a variety of musical instruments: alto and tenor sax, trumpet, flute, piccolo, guitar, clarinet, trumpet and horn to name a few. The musicians come from a variety of backgrounds including dentists, teachers and corporate employees. Some players come from musical families, others are a surprise melody maker to their family, and some from families where one or more of their parents were band directors or music teachers.
Stiegler, who is a music teacher, has taught both here and abroad. She taught band and orchestra in Maryland for a few years before moving to Saudi Arabia. When she came back to the United States in 1986, she settled in Texas, and now teaches band at Welch Middle School.
Fun and family seem to be the hallmark of the group. For new members with busy schedules, Stiegler says not to worry, only bring your desire to make music. As a middle school teacher, she admits she has a “very high tolerance for wrong notes, and occasional missed practiced sessions.”
Today, the group includes about 35 people, but they are always looking for new members. And they really do need a drummer, according to Steigler. There’s no pressure if you’re not as handy with the sticks as you once were.
“There are no dues, no auditions, no contracts. Just bring your sense of fun, musical adventure and of course, the instrument of choice,” she said.
The group is a nonprofit organization, they don’t charge for performances. Donations are always welcomed, are tax deductible, and go toward the purchase of new music.
To Stiegler, rekindling a love of music is what Missouri City Pops is all about.
“This band was not something that was limited to students, and its not limited to professionals, because most of us here are amateurs. Having this band, a group to play with, makes playing music that much more enjoyable,” she said.
All members agree Missouri City Pops is definitely a family, where encouragement echoes as the band director tells the newcomers “Play one note tonight, next night, you’ll play two.”
For more information, find them on Facebook @MissouriCityPops.