The BIG Band is composed of 18 musicians – saxophones, trumpets, trombones, drums, piano, guitar, and bass. The BIG Band plays swing, ragtime and jazz in the style of the Count Basie Orchestra and Harry James Band, but has expanded its repertoire into all kinds of popular music from Latin to blues and rock. The Philly POPS BIG Band members were chosen for their passion for popular music. Each is also a teaching artist, adept at instructing the next generation of musicians.
The new Philly POPS BIG Band debuted on July 4 with two performances during the City of Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America 2017 festival. In the morning, the ensemble played at the Celebration of Freedom ceremony and parade on Independence Mall. In the evening, the BIG Band opened the city’s Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks 2017 show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. NBC10 and Telemundo62 televised both performances.
Philly POPS principal trumpet Matt Gallagher leads the BIG Band. Matt is chair of the Trumpet department at University of the Arts and director of its “Z” Big Band. He’s performed with Broadway show productions, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Bernadette Peters, the O’Jays, NFL Films, and recently recorded for Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson and LL Cool J.
Matt Gallagher is principal trumpet with The Philly POPS and has performed in the orchestra for 7 years.
Matt is the prototypical lead trumpet player with extensive credits with professional bands and orchestras across the east coast. He has performed with several Broadway show productions and artists, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, The Philly POPS, Diana Krall, Hugh Jackman, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Lou Rawls, Bernadette Peters, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Barry Manilow, and many others. Matt is currently the principal trumpet player for the Philly POPS and the lead trumpet sub for the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, Matt is a studio trumpet player at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and recently recorded for Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson and LL Cool J, to name a few.
Matt is equally committed to both teaching and performing. He is the chair of the Trumpet department, “Z” Big Band director and music education professor at the University of the Arts.
Matt Gallagher earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education from West Chester University and earned a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of the Arts in 2001.
Ron Kerber has been a multi-instrumentalist – playing flute, clarinet, and saxophone – with The Philly POPS for 19 years.
Ron is one of Philadelphia’s first call musicians, with a career that has crossed genres and styles. He was formerly saxophonist, composer and producer for Blue Note recording artists “Pieces of a Dream”. He has also recorded with Jimmy Bruno, Phil Woods, Gerald Veasley, Jim Ridl, Melody Gardot, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, Lou Rawls and Teddy Pendergrass among others. He has toured with Burt Bacharach, Rod Stewart and Diana Ross and performed with Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Ben Folds, Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Tony Bennett, Lang Lang, Manhattan Transfer, Randy Brecker, Rufus Wainright, Michael Buble, Jane Monheit, New York Voices, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and Johnny Mathis to name a few.
Ron is a member of The Philly POPS, and has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra 2001, The Royal Ballet, and The Russian National Orchestra.
Ron is professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has served on the Board of Trustees of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and as President of the Philadelphia Chapter. He continues to be active in the Grammy process serving on several committees for the Academy.
Ron is a D’Addario Woodwind Artist and plays Silverstein Ligatures.
Mark Allen has been a multi-instrumentalist and teaching artist with The Philly POPS for six seasons.
Mark originally hails from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but has lived and worked in the Philadelphia area for the last 11 years. He holds an Adjunct Assistant Faculty position at the University of the Arts where he teaches the history of jazz, music theory, and is the chair of the saxophone department. He has had the privilege of studying with Joel Frahm, Ben Schachter, Chris Farr, and Ron Kerber. In addition to co-leading several ensembles, Mark is an active member of The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Fresh Cut Orchestra (Ropeadope Records), and several other Philadelphia/New York ensembles. He has shared the stage and/or recorded with luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Terell Stafford, George Garzone, Marcus Belgrave, Dick Oatts, Orrin Evans, Benny Golson, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, and R Kelly, among others. Mark is also active in the Philadelphia classical music and theater scenes as a woodwind player, appearing with The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, the Academy of Music Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.