The Philly POPS Announces Its 2021–2022 “Lights Up! Showtime!” Season

The Philly POPS has announced a dynamic new lineup for the 2021–2022 season, featuring eight exciting shows, with all-new programs and returning fan-favorite guest artists.

The 2021–2022 Lights Up! Showtime! season is now on sale at

Watch the season announcement press conference here.

“As we look to the future for the return of live music, we’re so excited to announce this new season,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO of The Philly POPS. “This season has something for everyone — and we’re looking forward to seeing the talents of Music Director David Charles Abell and guest conductors Rickey Minor, Byron Stripling, and Stuart Chafetz. This season promises to be one of our best yet!”

“I’m delighted to lead the POPS as Music Director and Principal Conductor through this stellar season,” said Music Director David Charles Abell. “The theme for this season, Lights Up! Showtime! speaks to our intention to light up the city with music. This season features an original show that I’ve created — HAMMERSTEIN: The Song is You. I’ll also conduct POPS Rocks ABBA: Mamma Mia! And More…, A Philly POPS Christmas, and POPS Rocks Let It Be. And of course, this season will include plenty of surprises!”

In addition to the 2021–2022 Subscription Series, the POPS will also continue building its efforts outside of the concert hall—namely through The Salute Series, POPS in Schools, and POPSinSchools@HOME programs, which further the POPS’ commitment to the City of Philadelphia and its people.

2021-22 Season:

Presented By Citizens Bank
Rickey Minor, conductor
SINATRA: A Man and his Music will feature Sinatra at the Sands, the iconic 1966 album with the Chairman, the Count Basie Orchestra, and the incandescent talent of Quincy Jones as Music Director, Conductor, and Arranger. Returning favorite, vocalist Michael Andrew, brings Sinatra’s swagger and style back to the stage. 
Making his Subscription Series debut with the POPS is explosive, Emmy award-winning guest conductor Rickey Minor. Rickey is a perfect fit for this program, with household name experience—Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Adele, and Jennifer Hudson—and as Quincy’s mentee and friend. 
Swing along to your favorites, “Come Fly With Me,” “I’ve Got a Crush on Your,” and “Fly Me to the Moon,” with energetic POPS fan-favorite, Michael Andrew! Come fly with the POPS! 

POPS Rocks ABBA: Mamma Mia! And More…
David Charles Abell, conductor
Mamma Mia, here we go again — it’s time to get your dancing shoes on! Hear the POPS’ signature sound on the hits of one of pop music’s greatest-selling bands, ABBA! 
The sensational Finnish vocal group Rajaton brings their boundless energy to the POPS for a night of ABBA’s best — boogie along to “Dancing Queen,” “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” and “Chiquitita.”
Rajaton has released 16 different albums. In 2017, Rajaton celebrated 20 years of music-making with one double platinum, three platinum, and eight gold records in Finland, as their worldwide record sales have hit over 400,000 copies altogether. 

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season
David Charles Abell, conductor
All the glitter and warmth of Philly’s favorite holiday tradition is back for another dazzling season! Returning from last year’s incredible holiday program, David Charles Abell brings the explosive, jaw-dropping talent of Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez back for her fourth Christmas with the POPS. Mandy’s performances of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” made a Christmas that no one could forget. This performance will also feature the exciting pianist Charlie Albright, from 2020’s streamed performance of A Philly POPS Christmas.
This all-new original program will feature the perennial POPS favorites: The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, organist Peter Richard Conte, and of course, Santa, for another can’t-miss holiday extravaganza. 

HAMMERSTEIN: The Song is You
David Charles Abell, conductor
With credits to 1,589 unforgettable songs and 5 ground-breaking musicals, including Oklahoma!The Sound of Music, and South Pacific, Oscar Hammerstein 2nd shaped both American musical theater and the careers of his successors, particularly that of his neighbor and protégé, Stephen Sondheim.  
Music Director David Charles Abell brings the Golden Age dazzle of Broadway to this enchanting tribute. Hammerstein, who lived the final 20 years of his life in Doylestown, was an extraordinary luminary, and his monumental achievements earned him 2 Oscars, 8 Tonys, and 2 Pulitzer prizes. 
Audience members can expect favorites such as “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and “Edelweiss.” Along with three musical theater powerhouses, Liz Callaway, Damian Humbley, and Rosena M. Hill Jackson, The Philly POPS Festival Chorus will have you singing all the way home!  

Dancin’ In The Streets: The Music of Motown
Byron Stripling, conductor
Experience the magic of MOTOWN! This program features smash hits made famous by artists like Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and the one and only Stevie Wonder. Songs include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Dancing In The Street,” “All Night Long,” “My Girl,” “Superstition,” and more. 
Celebrate the legendary “Motown Sound” with guest conductor Byron Stripling, Hairspray stars Shayna Steele and Chester Gregory, with American Idol finalist and charted R&B artist Michael Lynche. Audiences will be transformed by the powerful music of Motown with these authentic arrangements and exciting, young talented musicians.

POPS Rocks: Let It Be
MARCH 2022
David Charles Abell, conductor
The Beatles changed the rock and roll landscape forever, and the POPS is back to celebrate their final studio release: Let it Be. The program features hits, including “Across the Universe,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and of course, “Let it Be” from this iconic album. In addition, the POPS will play from the Revolver songbook. This time, the focus is on this latter-day music of rock’s most famous band as interpreted by the full orchestra.  
Joining the POPS for this 50th Anniversary Celebration is the beloved Classical Mystery Tour. 

S’Wonderful! S’Gershwin!
APRIL 2022
Byron Stripling, conductor
Peter Nero performed a memorable “Rhapsody in Blue” at the POPS’ first-ever performance in 1979, kicking off the POPS’ storied 42-year history with one of America’s greatest songwriters and composers, George Gershwin. 
Guest conductor Byron Stripling presents the best work of this storied talent with this program, featuring music from Porgy and BessAn American in Paris, and more! The program features some of the hottest stars of new Broadway, POPS favorites Nikki Renée Daniels, Allison Blackwell—fresh from her July 3rd triumph, and Ryan Silverman, last seen with the POPS in Abell’s Bernstein retrospective. Piano virtuoso Charlie Albright will perform “Rhapsody in Blue” with his dynamic, exciting style.
“S’Wonderful,” “I Got Rhythm,” “Summertime,” “Love is Here to Stay,” and more! 

Star Wars: A Galaxy of Music
MAY 2022
Stuart Chafetz, conductor
The force is strong! The Philly POPS sets course for a galaxy far, far away with the music that changed cinema forever. And POPS favorite Stuart Chafetz is back to conduct pieces from each of these iconic films. 
Get goosebumps from the “Main Theme” of that very first blockbuster film. Thrill to the suspense of the “Duel of the Fates.” John Williams’ soaring scores are rich with unforgettable themes, reminiscent of galactic landscapes. Williams composed the scores for all nine Star Wars films, starting with A New Hope in 1977, and has won six GRAMMY awards and eight nominations, just for his work with the saga.  
Join the Rebellion and come in costume as your favorite character to hear the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra performing the iconic soundtrack as it was originally recorded!

For more details on the Lights Up! Showtime! season, visit

About The Philly POPS 
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 200,000 annually. Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell and 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.  
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.

 Outside the concert hall, free Salute Series performances – including Memorial Salute, July 3 POPS on Independence, July 4 POPS on the Parkway 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 in Schools enhances music education for 3,000 Philadelphia School District students and virtually to over 20,000 students with POPS in Schools @ Home; and 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. 

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