Making moo-sic: Pacific Symphony quintent plays Centennial Farm during OC Fair

The glinting curves of the tuba reflected not a baton-waving conductor in a tux but a horned buck goat with a fur beard.


A brass quintet from the Pacific Symphony pulled up their chairs and unfolded their sheet music Saturday at the Orange County Fair, playing classical and popular pieces in a pop-up concert for the animal residents and human visitors at Centennial Farm.


In the shade of a pavilion that houses the chick brooders, a French hornist, tubist, trombonist and two trumpeters played a five-piece repertoire very much in the round.

The Elephant movement from Saint-Saëns’ “The Carnival of the Animals” suggested the tusked beasts lumbering in the savanna.

Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” brought to mind galloping horses and the Lone Ranger.

“Strike up the Band” brought to the edge of their pen some curious kid goats, their hooves against the fence rails and wiry stub tails twitching to the Gershwin standard and UCLA rally tune. The quintet also drew admirers of all ages for the “Star Wars” theme and a medley of songs from “Frozen.”

Keith Popejoy, the symphony’s principal French horn, was dressed for down-home comfort in jeans and a plaid shirt. The setting nonetheless took some adjusting as he inhaled deeply to make his music.

“I really haven’t played where you’ve got the barnyard smells,” he said.

Susan Miller Kotses, vice president of education and community engagement for the Irvine-based symphony, said Pacific Symphony musicians regularly perform out of the formal theater setting. They bring their talents to schools, parks and the Orange County Rescue Mission.

But as for its most casual setting, “this is probably it.”

The Pacific Symphony returns to the area Aug. 18 for a more traditional show at the Pacific Amphitheatre, performing the score to “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrialalongside a showing of the film.