November 27, 2014


Cleveland Pops Orchestra plays superhero-themed music at Ely Square

The Cleveland Pops Orchestra performs in front of an estimated 3,000 people in Ely Square on Saturday. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

The Cleveland Pops Orchestra performs in front of an estimated 3,000 people in Ely Square on Saturday. ANNA NORRIS/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Twelve-year-old Michael Derrick knows Batman — he’s his middle school science teacher.

Michael and his family made the half-hour drive from Rocky River to Ely Square on Saturday to see a concert as his teacher and other volunteers dressed up as comic book characters in the unique pairing of superheroes and classical music that filled downtown Elyria on Saturday evening.

They were not alone. About 3,000 people came to the square 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday to listen to the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, eat from food trucks and take photographs with the people of Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio. The organization consists of volunteers who dress as superheroes to cheer up patients in hospitals and to make appearances at events across the state.

Though it’s not the first time the heroes have made a stop in Elyria — they also filled Ely Square in May — it is the first time they’ve partnered with the annual Cleveland Pops show downtown.

The orchestra played mostly classical music, broken up with on-stage presentations and inspiring messages from many of the superheroes and even some super villains.

Daniel Stewart, dressed as Superman, told the crowd “I believe in each and every one of you,” followed by uplifting music from the orchestra. A few minutes later, Disney’s Elsa and Anna walked on stage to a blend of songs from the movie “Frozen.”

Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda, who hopes the organization will return for events in subsequent summers, said the combination of hosting both the concert and the superheroes fulfilled two goals: It brought classical music to children and children to Elyria.

“This is another way to expose all kids to the love of music,” Brinda said, adding that prior to the concert, many of the children were allowed to go on stage and hold the instruments in a sort of “orchestra petting zoo.”

Additionally, Brinda said, it brought families with young children to downtown Elyria for the evening. Many of the families who came Saturday hadn’t attended the Cleveland Pops concert before, despite it being in Elyria for the past 10 years. Maybe it was the promise of a superhero accompaniment that drew more families, but for many the concert may become a regular visit.

Rachel Barley, an Elyria resident who came with her family, loved the superhero event and said she would definitely be staying for what would be her first Cleveland Pops concert.

“It’s cool for the kids to bring their families down to Elyria,” Barley said.
For another couple visiting Lorain County from Uganda, the evening was a chance to get a good feel for the sense of community in a small city.

“We are looking all over … this brings people together,” Imelda Wabulembo said of her short visit in Elyria to see the concert. Her husband, Dr. Geoffrey Wabulembo, was similarly pleased by the crowd and the concert.

“We feel delighted to have this opportunity,” he said.

For the superheroes themselves, it’s all about making the local children happy. That’s what made Stewart join the organization.

“To see the smiles on kids’ faces … it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Rebecca A. White

    The beautiful concert, gracious Superheroes, and children’s activities made this a very memorable event. I applaud everyone who brought this to us, and most especially the men and women who are truly heroes to the sick children of Cleveland. We had a wonderful time, and look forward to doing this again. Thank you Mayor Brinda!

  • Sis Delish

    No mention in the story about Fireworks.

  • Paul A. Schroeter

    Since it was light for most of the concert the fireworks didn’t really add anything, plus their loud fump was kind of startling. I wonder if the people in the park could even see anything at all through the trees. I thought they should have saved the money for next year’s 4th of July. Loved the superheroes. Batman and Superman were completely convincing. Looking forward to going to the concert again next year.

  • John Demirjian

    good use of the park, for the community service.

  • Brian

    Just wanted to share this with you guys in case anyone wants to see some highlights. Could not get whole concert due to battery :-) VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS OF CLEVELAND POPS EVENT IN ELYRIA. Super Heroes To Kids In Ohio’ was HONORED to work with ‘The Cleveland Pops Orchestra’, and some deserving SUPER KIDS AND FAMILIES in historic Ely Square on ‘Summon The Super Heroes’.
    THANKS TO ALL WHO MADE THIS AWESOME FOR SO MANY! On August 30th, 2014, it was presented by the City of Elyria and Main Street Elyria! Special thanks to Mayor Brinda!!!