The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, delights audiences with the inspired performance of American popular music. The POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert performances and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives. As the official POPS orchestra of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia’s partner in civic celebration, The Philly POPS serves a consistently growing audience of over 250,000 annually. The 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra keep listeners tapping their toes to an impressive repertoire of songs—from American traditional music up through to today’s chart-toppers.
The Philly POPS was founded in 1979 by Moe Septee. The POPS began its run as a staple of the Independence Week celebrations in the City of Philadelphia in 1980. In 1999, the POPS was designated as the official POPS orchestra of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2001, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts opened with The Philly POPS as a founding resident company. Following the separation from the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2011, Frank Giordano took the reins of the newly independent organization as President and CEO.
In addition to Subscription Series performances at The Kimmel Center, The Philly POPS presents innovative programming with contemporary artists at the Met Philadelphia in The Philly POPS at the Met Philadelphia series. Other ensembles that make up The Philly POPS are: The Philly POPS BIG Band, which plays a rock and rhythm and blues repertoire, and The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Artistic Director for Jazz, Terell Stafford.
Outside the concert hall, free Salute Series performances – including Memorial Salute, July 3 POPS on Independence, July 4 POPS at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony and POPS on the Parkway, Veterans Day activities and the I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert – celebrate the American tradition of service around important national holidays. POPS Outside brings POPS music to local communities. The Philly POPS performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, as the Principal Orchestra of the Met Philadelphia, and at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
Launched in 2015, POPSInSchools is an EITC-certified program that supplemental music education for approximately 3,000 students in the School District of Philadelphia by embedding POPS teaching artists in 11 high schools and 4 elementary schools and 1 after-school program in Camden to train, coach, and mentor music students. In April of 2020, the POPS responded to the pandemic with its launching of POPSInSchools@HOME, our virtual offering of POPSInSchools which now reaches more than 18,000 students. The program was picked by The School District of Philadelphia for distribution though its Google Classroom platform.
Spotlight: The POPS Today
Thanks to its passionate supporters, the Philly POPS is generating significant growth in ticket sales and attendance, with particular growth in the POPS subscription base. These advances are the driving force behind innovative programming for new audiences, an expansion to six annual concert series and 11 Christmas shows as well as meaningful work that benefits local communities with a growing slate of in-school education programs.
The Philly POPS is breaking out of the concert hall and bringing music to the streets of Philadelphia and its surrounding towns. Look for POPS artists performing in pop-up beer gardens, city parks, leisure venues, public schools and alongside some of the greatest vocalists of our time.
The Salute Series, an expanding portfolio of programs performed on American holidays, celebrates those who serve our country, its cities, and communities. Performances including Memorial Salute, POPS on Independence on July 3, POPS on the Parkway on July 4, and Veterans Salute showcase the magic of the orchestra to diverse and enthusiastic crowds. The annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas concert rings in the holiday season with a free concert for active military, police, and fire department families.
POPS in Schools
Launched in 2015, POPS in Schools is an EITC-certified program that supplements music education for approximately 2,000 students in the Philadelphia School District by embedding POPS teaching artists in eight high schools and four elementary schools to train, coach and mentor music students. The Philly POPS is the presenting sponsor of the All-City Jazz Festival held each April during Jazz Appreciation Month.
Outside the concert hall, POPS Outside brings the talented and experienced musicians of the Philly POPS to unexpected places, including monthly community engagement experiences, free pre-concert activities and in-school events.
POPS Presents events expand the Philly POPS reach into a variety of genres and with guest artists of ever-greater reputation and talent, including Andrea Bocelli, Rufus Wainwright and Deana Martin.
The Philly POPS has proudly been a Philadelphia icon for the last four decades and happily anticipates reaching tens of thousands of new listeners through these expanding programs.
David Charles Abell is appointed Music Director of The Philly POPS.
The Philly POPS enters its 40th Anniversary Season. At the Wawa Welcome America festival, Frank Giordano and the POPS were honored as the “2018 Welcome America Honoree” in recognition of the Salute Series and POPS in Schools program.
The Philly POPS announces the appointment of Principal Guest Conductor David Charles Abell.
The Philly POPS BIG Band debuts on July 4 at the 25th anniversary of the Wawa Welcome America concert on the Parkway.
In addition to July 3’s traditional POPS on Independence concert, the POPS brass percussion ensemble performs at Philadelphia’s televised July 4 Celebration of Freedom ceremony.
The Philly POPS partners with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts for Philadelphia’s first-ever Memorial Day concert: Memorial Salute.
The Philly POPS performs with renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Philly POPS performs for Pope Francis on Independence Mall.
Launch of POPS in Schools kicks off with a presenting sponsorship of the Philadelphia School District’s All City Jazz Festival.
Launch of POPS Outside! brings the vibrant programming, musicians and featured guest artists of the POPS family to a growing list of holiday tree lightings and celebrations around the Delaware Valley.
The Philly POPS salutes military and first responders by giving away 2,000 free tickets to the inaugural I’ll be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert.
Music Director Michael Krajewski takes over the “baton” of The Philly POPS.
Frank Giordano takes the reins as President and CEO of the The Philly POPS.
The Kimmel Center opens with The Philly POPS as a founding resident company.
The Philly POPS is designated as the official Pops Orchestra of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Philly POPS is founded by Moe Septee.