November 17, 2022
It is a sad moment for music fans, as the end has arrived for an iconic Philadelphia orchestra.
The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the U.S., will cease operations after completing its 2022-23 season, the orchestra announced Wednesday.
"Despite our best efforts, a combination of circumstances, including the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, led the Board of Directors to reevaluate how we serve the community that has loved and supported the Philly POPS since 1979," a statement from the orchestra said.
For more than four decades, the Philly POPS has played everything from traditional American music to popular hits. Each year, about 900,000 people listen to them play.
Led by Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell, the orchestra performs as a founding resident company of The Kimmel Cultural Campus, as the principal orchestra of the Met Philadelphia and at venues throughout the region.
Over the summer, the POPS played John Williams' famous "Star Wars" soundtracks during film screenings at The Mann Center. The ensemble also recently put on Christmas in July and Veterans Day performances. And it could be counted on to add festive sounds to the holidays.
Music education was a large part of Philly POPS' mission, with POPS in Schools enhancing music education for 3,000 Philadelphia School District students and POPS Outside bringing orchestral music to local communities.
Performances through the 2022-23 season will be carried out, including the scheduled dates and times of "A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season" from Dec. 3 to Dec. 17. The orchestra's annual holiday show features classic holiday songs played alongside guest performers, including Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez.
The orchestra said it will continue to honor the terms and conditions of the existing contract with its current musicians, and is working to identify ways to continue pops programming in the city.
Philly POPS' full statement can be found below:
"The Philly POPS has made the difficult decision to cease operations following the conclusion of the current 2022–23 season.
Despite our best efforts, a combination of circumstances, including the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, led the Board of Directors to reevaluate how we serve the community that has loved and supported the Philly POPS since 1979.
With deep support from The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. (POKC), our Board leadership is working to fulfill obligations to our loyal audiences, generous sponsors, and talented musicians, while identifying ways to continue the celebrated tradition of pops programming in Philadelphia.
The POPS will continue to carry out performances through the 2022–23 season, including the 10 scheduled dates and times of 'A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season' in December.
Our musicians are the heart and soul of the Philly POPS. As such, we will continue to honor the terms and conditions of the existing contract agreement with our musicians."