Philly Pops are starting a plan for survival


Citing public dismay at the news that the Philadelphia Pops would be closing at the end of this season, the group’s leaders reversed course and are now working to save the city’s only independent pops orchestra. is.

Next season, Pops has promised to announce a Christmas show, a “salute series” of concerts and an educational program, the group announced Wednesday.

Whether the traditional series of Broadway, Great American Songbook and rock tribute shows will continue in 2023-24 will depend on what kind of support emerges for the remainder of this season, he said. person says:

The group will run a “save the pops” campaign over the next nine months, at which time it will raise $1 million in philanthropic support in addition to its usual $1 million raised. The funds are intended to pay off debt, meet financial obligations, and fund future operations.

Pops chief operating officer Karen Corbin said that in the coming months, Pops will “reassess through additional research and in response to what it has shown how it can continue to offer its kind of programming.” “The subscription series clearly needs a new model, and we’ll be turning our attention to finding that model ASAP.”

Pops struggled to win over audiences this fall, finding many traditional listeners not returning to concerts after the pandemic shutdown ended. Poor sales and some debt forced the group to decide to end the season. close itsaid Pops chairman Frank Giordano in mid-November.

But almost immediately, the organization began taking step-by-step steps toward survival.announced on the spot Annual Christmas show Committing holiday traditions to return in 2023, we wrote a new tentative agreement with the musicians to extend it for two more years. did. In December’s annual Variety earnings, he attracted more than 18,000 paying patrons. “That’s what we usually do best,” Corbyn said.

Equally important are the expressions of support the group has felt since disclosing its decision to close. Audiences were chanting “Save the Pop” at his concert this Christmas, he said. This helped him change his mindset.

“We realized it was our responsibility to do so,” said Giordano Wednesday. “The pop programming we do is unique in our city and the music our community wants to hear. Not only that, but we also had outreach from current and potential donors that showed there was a path to success.”

The details of the “save the pops” campaign have yet to be fully formulated, Corbyn said, but the Pops board approved the new direction on January 3.

Historically, the Philly Pops have relied more on ticket sales than most other art groups, making it particularly difficult to survive pandemic shutdowns. Corbin said the group had had no ticket income for 18 months.

This new plan calls for a modified business model with an emphasis on charitable giving. Educational programs and “salute series” – concerts like the ensemble’s beloved appearance at Independence Mall every 4th of July – are underwritten by grants and sponsorships. But the core subscription series is largely fueled by ticket sales to a demographic hesitant to return to live concerts.

“Some of our business models have gone wrong and we need to adjust that,” says Corbyn. “We have a library of programs waiting to be announced. We just need to find the right mix and the right number of performances.”


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