Ron Daniels: Save the last Pops for me |

Ron Daniels: Save the last Pops for me

Shannon Litz

About 3,000 music fans turned out for the final performance of the Reno Philharmonic at Mormon Station State Historic Park on Thursday.

Every spot that could fit a car on every road in town was occupied, as performers filled the air around Nevada’s first settlement with patriotic music.

Retired Reno Philharmonic conductor Ron Daniels, who led the first Pops in the Park in 1984, helped say farewell to the event.

When Daniels first met with former Genoa resident Ann Funk, one of the original organizers, the event was to be much smaller.

“We were going to do a chorus … and expected 100 people,” he said. “By the end of the meeting we ended up with an orchestra and 800 people. Stay tuned, because the philharmonic will perform at some venue for the Fourth of July, but not this one.”

Conductor Jason Altieri gave up the baton to Carson City resident Roland Fournier, who won the raffle to be guest conductor for a performance of “The Liberty Bell.”

Daniels, whose last Pops concert as conductor was in 1997, pointed out that a majority of the philharmonic’s performers were still there after 15 years.

A few performed for that first Pops in the Park in 1984, including tuba player Russ Dickman, who has been with the philharmonic since it was formed in 1969.

District Judge Michael Gibbons attended the concert with his wife and videotaped the salute to the services conducted by Daniels.

“My mother is 90 years old and it’s her favorite piece,” he said. “I’m going to show her the video when we go to see her.”