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February 02, 2023

Philly Pops move some concerts to The Met, but others still lack venues

The orchestra was kicked out of the Kimmel Cultural Campus last month for failing to pay its debts. Its upcoming 'Get Up, Stand Up' performances now will take place in North Philly

Music Philly POPS
Philly Pops Concerts Provided Image/Philly Pops

The Philly Pops have moved its "Get Up, Stand Up: The Encyclopedia of Soul" performances to The Met Philadelphia after being kicked out of the Kimmel Cultural Campus last month. The shows will occur Saturday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Philly Pops will move its upcoming February concerts to The Met Philadelphia after being evicted from the Kimmel Cultural Campus in January for failure to pay its debts. But the future of the financially-strapped orchestra remains uncertain as it searches for venues to hold the remainder of its shows.

Three performances of "Get Up, Stand Up: The Encyclopedia of Soul" were scheduled at Verizon Hall from Feb. 17-19 before the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center cut off its relationship with the Pops. Two of the concerts have been rebooked to take place at The Met on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Anyone who purchased tickets to the originally-scheduled shows will have their tickets honored, and additional tickets will go on sale Friday. People who purchased tickets for the Feb. 17 show at Verizon Hall can attend the 8 p.m. show at The Met on Feb. 18; those with tickets for the Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 shows at Verizon Hall can attend the 3 p.m. show at the Met. 

The Pops had four other shows scheduled in March, April, May and June, but the orchestra has not yet announced an alternative venue for any of them. 

"Get Up, Stand Up: The Encyclopedia Of Soul" includes R&B favorites like "Heard It Through The Grapevine," "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Let's Get It On." It features Emmy Award-winning conductor Rickey Minor and "Hamilton" star Joshua Henry. 

"We are very excited about this opportunity to continue our work as the principal orchestra of The Met Philadelphia, premiering 'Get Up, Stand Up' with Joshua Henry and Rickey Minor in our city: a city long infused with its own Philly Sound," the Philly Pops said in a statement Wednesday. "We are continuing to make our scheduled 2022-23 performances the best they can possibly be for our patrons and our magnificent musicians and we will continue to update as we have more information regarding the remainder of our concerts." 

The Met is familiar territory for the Philly Pops. The ensemble served as the principal orchestra at the North Philadelphia venue for nearly a year before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the city's arts and culture sectors. 

The Pops performed several shows at The Met in 2019, including "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and a Freddie Mercury tribute. 

Though the Philly Pops initially decided to shut down operations at the end of its 2022-2023 season in July, overwhelming support for its Christmas programming in December allowed the orchestra to reassess that plan, according to Frank Giordano, president of the Pops. 

The orchestra has since turned to fundraising, launching its #SaveThePOPS campaign in an effort to raise the $2 million needed to continue operations

The Philly Pops union members reached a new contract agreement in December. It does not expire until Aug. 31, 2024, accounting for the possibility of continued operations after July.