Philly's No Name Pops: Keeping Music Alive!

Pictured Above: The No Name Pops Executive Director Matt Koveal. Photo Credit: Contributed. 



Philadelphia, PA – Last November, Encore Series Inc.’s shocking announcement that they would wind down the operation of the Philly POPS was a devastating blow to the Philadelphia community and to the musicians who have been the face of the symphonic pops traditions for decades. Unwilling to let the music stop, a small group of musicians banded together to create a new 501(c)3 that would usher symphonic pops into the future. In May 2023, The No Name Pops was formed. 

With a goal of providing great music to the community, the musicians knew that a seasoned administrator was a key partner. They sought an administrator they trusted, who drew from his own background as a trumpet player and who valued musicians as partners. Matthew Koveal was the ideal choice and was named Executive Director. When he reached out to musicians for an inaugural performance, he called the group “The No Name Pops” as a placeholder. “I didn’t know what we should call ourselves, so I figured this would do in the meantime.” Koveal shared. “I didn’t realize the larger potential behind the name until later.” 

Pictured Above: Herb Smith, The Conductor of Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown. Photo Credit: Contributed. 

“To us, our name (or lack thereof) says it all. The No Name Pops doesn’t waste time with nonsense – we give the patrons what they want. We don’t hide behind excuses – we are transparent with our entire community. Our musical approach knows no boundaries. Our performances are for all and our collaborations are unbound by genre and style.” The obsession with a name can overshadow the people who make an organization work. “At The No Name Pops, we believe that in order to make good music, the patrons, musicians, and administration need to work together. Without equal respect for all parties, we are nothing.”

The No Name Pops includes former musicians of the Philly POPS and various other cultural organizations throughout our community, reimagining the future of symphonic pops performance in Philadelphia. The musicians bring their wide-ranging experience and passion to performances that have audiences standing on their feet and dancing in the aisles. The organization believes that music should be accessible for all, and in all places – not just the concert hall. Consistent with that goal, The No Name Pops prioritizes free concerts throughout the region.

The musicians, represented by Jon Fink, cellist and founding board member of The No Name Pops, have a mutual dedication to the music. Fink said, “We believe that our great city should have pops music, so we came together to form The No Name Pops to provide this style of music to Philadelphia.” Councilmember Mark Squilla shared his appreciation of this new orchestra saying, “I am excited to have The No Name Pops bring pops orchestral music to Philadelphia. I look forward to seeing them at their free performances on South Street, and then again at their first performance at the Kimmel Center. Let the music continue!”

The No Name Pops has had a busy summer. Since their May 2023 genesis, they have performed over 15 times for free, engaging new audiences, building bridges, and breaking barriers, contributing their unique voice to the soundtrack of Philadelphia life. A flexible and versatile ensemble, their musicians have performed in numerous configurations with legendary singers like Philadelphia’s music icon, Eddie Bruce, and vocalist Paula Holloway, often donating their services to reach the people.

Their upcoming schedule is busy with the exciting announcement of a concert on October 28 at 3 and 8 p.m. at the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Verizon Hall called Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown and The Philly Sound conducted by Herb Smith with guest artists including Chester Gregory who played Berry Gordy in “Motown the Musical” on Broadway. They’ve also been contracted by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Kimmel Center to perform nine Christmas season concerts, celebrating a beloved holiday tradition. The No Name Pops is a brand-new organization that will only survive with the fiscal support of the community. Please consider donating to keep the music alive. 

Here’s their upcoming schedule:
8/26 – PARX Casino with Wayne Newton, No Name Pops Big Band (tickets available at PARX Casino)
8/27 – Shannondell Retirement Community, full orchestra (private event)
9/9 – Full Orchestra FREE show at South Street Headhouse Square, conducted by Stuart Malina (Music Director, Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra), featuring LaKisha Jones (American Idol).
9/15 – Live at Noon at World Cafe Live: Small ensemble performing Philly Sound hits ft. Paula Holloway.
10/26 – Rajant’s World Music Benefit for CHOP: The No Name Pops Big Band Ft. Eddie Bruce
10/28 – Full orchestra inaugural performance at Kimmel Center – Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown and The Philly Sound!, conducted by Herb Smith, featuring Chester Gregory (who played the role of Berry Gordy in “Motown the Musical” on Broadway); Brik.Liam, and Ashley Jayy.
12/1 – 12/23 A Very Philly Christmas at the Kimmel Cultural Campus: The No Name Pops Orchestra
For more information, visit .

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