The Philly POPS raise a glass with the eighth annual POPS Ball

-Courtesy of the Philly POPS

The Philly POPS steps back to a magical time for the Eighth Annual POPS Ball, September 16, 2021 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue.

Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell brings POPS fan-favorite and Broadway legend Liz Callaway back for another night of elegance. The evening will also feature a much-anticipated performance by Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford, performing “Candy” on trumpet and joining Liz for “Love is Here to Stay.”

The theme for this year is “The Black and White Ball”—an homage to Truman Capote’s legendary party of the last century. The Eighth Annual POPS Ball is the major fundraiser of the 2021-22 POPS season. POPS supporters will enjoy a sophisticated soirée, dancing to the full Philly POPS orchestra. This black-and-white-themed masquerade gala will feature two songs that were performed during the original Black and White Ball by the Peter Duchin Orchestra and the Soul Brothers: “Put on A Happy Face,” and “Twist and Shout.”

“I’m thrilled to be leading the POPS for my first and our eighth POPS Ball,” said Music Director & Principal Conductor David Charles Abell. “The evening’s program will have some fun with this black and white theme— songs like ‘Night and Day,’ ‘Moon River’ and ‘Me and My Shadow.’ I’m delighted we can include two songs performed at Truman Capote’s 1966 ball. Having the incredible Liz Callaway and Terell Stafford together with The Philly POPS will surely make this a night to remember.”

“This year’s gala has a special meaning—it will be the first live performance for many of the POPS’ closest friends since the interruption began,” said Frank Giordano, President and CEO, The Philly POPS. “Dottie and I could not be more excited to see our supporters again and to hear the POPS playing and swinging in its trademark style!”

This year’s POPS Ball Honorees will be Daniel and Monica DiLella. Dan and Monica have been members of the POPS family for 10 years. Dan has served on the Board throughout that time and has helped the POPS achieve its unprecedented attendance growth and programmatic expansion.

For more details on The Eighth Annual POPS Ball, visit

This event is a black-tie formal masquerade; the event will follow all current health and safety guidelines.

About Daniel and Monica DiLella, POPS Ball Honorees 
Dan and Monica DiLella have been staunch supporters of The Philly POPS since 2011. With their leadership, organizations across Philadelphia have seen growth and success. They have not only worked with the POPS, but also The Union League of Philadelphia, Villanova University, Roman Catholic High School, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Mt. Saint Joseph Academy. Daniel is Chairman of the United States’ America 250 Commission, celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the United States of America.

Dan is the President/CEO of Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. Dr. Monica DiLella is a board-certified family physician.

The Philly POPS raises a glass to Dan and Monica – great philanthropists and friends.

About Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell 
David Charles Abell is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of The Philly POPS.  

Born in North Carolina, David grew up in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. At the age of fourteen, he turned his attention to conducting and went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger. He earned degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School after intensive study of viola, piano and composition. He has worked with such distinguished artists as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Idina Menzel, Heather Headley, Bryn Terfel, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison and Michael Feinstein. Previously, as Guest Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor of The Philly POPS, he conducted Cole Porter’s Broadway: Too Darn HotLenny’s RevolutionBlockbuster Broadway and A Philly POPS Christmas in 2013, 2014, 2015 and again for the record-setting run of A Philly POPS Christmas in 2019 and the streamed performance in 2020.  

David has appeared regularly on television, most notably conducting the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of Les Misérables. He has conducted five times at London’s BBC Proms, including a live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Recordings include the musicals Miss SaigonMartin Guerre and Man of La ManchaSomething’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau and highlights from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.  

In the UK, David recently conducted his own critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North. He has conducted many of the premier British orchestras, including the London Symphony, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth and Royal Philharmonic. His work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra includes a centenary concert honoring his mentor Leonard Bernstein in 2018. A much-respected artist in London’s West End, David conducted the Olivier Awards ceremony for four years and was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal choice to lead the world premiere of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre. 

David’s recent projects have included a series of Gershwin concerts at Kyiv National Theatre of Operetta in Ukraine, Carousel at the Vienna Volksoper and Sweeney Todd at the Zurich Opera House. David also conducted Barrie Kosky’s production of The Magic Flute at Opera Philadelphia, West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival and Silent Night, Kevin Puts’ acclaimed opera about the World War I Christmas Truce, in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit.  

About Liz Callaway 
Liz Callaway is a Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and recording artist. She made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby and for 5 years, won acclaim as Grizabella in Cats. She has also starred in the original casts of Miss SaigonThe Three Musketeers and The Look of Love, with many off-Broadway credits to her name, as well. An accomplished concert and recording artist, she created the award-winning show Sibling Revelry with sister Ann Hampton Callaway, with whom she collaborated again on Boom!, a celebration of the music of the ’60s and ’70s recorded live at Birdland and currently touring performing arts centers around the country. Recently, she had the pleasure of singing Chances Are with the legendary Johnny Mathis in Vancouver, co-starring with Jimmy Webb and Paul Williams in their engagement at Feinstein’s in New York, and joining Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder at Hal David’s 90th Birthday Celebration Concert in Los Angeles. Her extensive U.S. symphony work includes appearances at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Ravinia and The Hollywood Bowl. Worldwide, she has performed in China, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, France, South Korea and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, where she premiered a new concert featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim. Liz sang the Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past” in the animated film Anastasia and performed the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves and The Return of Jafar. She received an Emmy Award for hosting Ready to Go, a daily, live children’s program on CBS in Boston.

About Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford 
Terell Stafford has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, combining a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well-defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.  

Since the mid-1990s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Stafford, with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s Grammy-nominated “From this Moment On” (2006). John Clayton invited Stafford to perform with the Clayton Brothers Quintet and Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, which was awarded a Grammy in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard.  

Stafford can be heard on over 130 albums. His latest recording This Side of Strayhorn has been hailed as “the first must-have album of 2011” and “genius.” Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.

Stafford was born in Miami and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a Masters of Music from Rutgers University in 1993.

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 250,000 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. 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.

About POPSInSchools and POPSInSchools@HOME
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 four elementary schools and one 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 20,000 students. The program was picked by The School District of Philadelphia for distribution though its Google Classroom platform.

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