"We were blown away. We said, 'We have to do this,'" Kipe said. "And here we are."
Veteran Broadway performers Rob Evan, Christiane Noll and Capathia Jenkins, and the Shenandoah Chorus of Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va., lent formidable vocal talents to the MSO Pops performance.
The show opened with "Rocks Overture" which included samples from "Hey Jude," "Pinball Wizard" and "Proud Mary." The first act was punctuated by Evan's and Noll's duet "Total Eclipse." The song from the musical "Dance of the Vampires," in which Evan starred, was the inspiration for Bonnie Tyler's 1982 hit recording "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
At the end of the first act, Jenkins geared up for "You Can't Stop the Beat" from "Hairspray," inviting the audience to stand up and dance.
"If you feel like getting up and shaking your groove thing, this is the song to do it," Jenkins said.
Even the more than 100 members of the Shenandoah Chorus rocked on their risers behind the orchestra during the number.
During intermission, Kristen Larrison of Hagerstown said the show was "awesome."
"I like the soloists, the chorus in the background, and the fact that it's Broadway but it's more current," Larrison said.
Her favorite number was the rhythmic, chant-driven "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King."
Judy and Phil Myerly of Hagerstown also named "Circle of Life" as a pleaser, along with Jenkins' sassy, soulful offering of "Proud Mary."
"I think this is terrific," Judy Myerly said. "It is kind of traditional even though it's rock. Rock is traditional now."
Paula Dennis of Hagerstown went to the show with her daughter Andrea Longnecker and her 13-year-old granddaughter Alanna Longnecker of Shepherdstown, W.Va. Dennis said she regularly attends MSO events, and she was impressed by the size of the crowd.
"This is the most people I have ever seen in the theater before. It's so full," Dennis said.
Concert attendance is up this year, Kipe said. He estimated the crowd to be more than 1,000 people, and said he looked forward to getting the final count.