The Pops Orchestra has been around since 1975, when it was formed as the Sarasota Community Orchestra, and its musicians (more than 60 strong now) are comprised of both pros and non-pros led by conductor Robyn Bell, all dedicated to performing popular music at low ticket prices.
The 2018-19 season commences with the orchestra’s annual salute to veterans, featuring tribute artist Tom Becker in “John Denver Coming Home,” at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at Riverview Performing Arts Center; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Neel Performing Arts Center. Discounted tickets for veterans and their families are available, and concert profits will benefit the Military Officers Association of Sarasota’s scholarship fund.
Piano funny man Rich Ridenour returns to the Pops with a holiday show, “Hi, I’m Rich,” joined by local singer (and second runner-up in the Ms. Florida pageant) Lauren Nielson, at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 (Riverview) and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 (Neel). Expect a sleighful of holiday favorites.
“Jersey Boys, California Girls” brings together the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (as personified by AJ Cali and Alex Zickafoose) and the all-female Stiletto Brass Quintet, at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 (Riverview) and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 (Neel) for Valentine’s-themed shows.
And lastly, “By George, We’ve Done It,” presents music from four Georges: Harrison, Michael, Gershwin and the original, George M. Cohan, sung by tribute artist Marty Scott. The season closer also offers Gershwin’s “Summertime” played by Pops concertmaster Felicia Brunelle and the famous “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring Sarasota’s Tom Purviance on piano. Those concerts are at 3 p.m. March 24 (Riverview) and 7:30 p.m. March 25 (Neel).
For tickets, visit thepopsorchestra.org, or call (941) 926-7677 (POPS).