Scroll down to take a journey from the past to the present.
Atlanta Pop Concerts at the Fox
Through the combined efforts of Mayor William B. Hartsfield and the general council, which matched a sum of money furnished by the American Federation of Musicians through a grant from the Music Performance Trust Fund of the Recording Industry, and through the cooperation of Wilby-Kincey Theatres, operators of the Fox Theatre, “Atlanta Pops” concerts are made available to the public free of charge for close to a decade.
Chastain Park Amphitheatre
The Atlanta Pops Orchestra performs at the opening of the Chastain Park Amphitheatre. Atlanta’s morning paper, “The Constitution” features a front page picture of the event with the headline “Greatest Throng in Atlanta Concert History Fill Amphitheatre to capacity to hear the Atlanta Pops.” The city’s evening paper, “The Atlanta Journal” features a picture and story, with the headline, “9000 turn out for Amphitheatre Concert.”
Georgia Music Week
Albert Coleman conducts the Atlanta Pops Orchestra at Stone Mountain Park during Georgia Music Week, in a performance which included a special guest appearance by James Brown. The concert was sponsored by the Music Performance Trust Fund, Friends of Georgia Music Week and the Senate Music Recording Industry Study Committee.
Albert Coleman and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra follow up their success of “Just Hooked on Country” with “Classic Country” on Epic Records, containing medleys of 48 country tunes. Like its predecessor, the recording is nominated for a Grammy® Award in the “Best Country & Western Instrumental Performance” category.
“Atlanta Salutes Coke”
The City of Atlanta, through Mayor Young, commissions Albert Coleman to produce “Atlanta Salutes Coke” – one of only two public events officially sanctioned by Coca-Cola for their Centennial celebration in Atlanta. The performance features Albert, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, guests, and a cast of thousands.
Emile Pandolphi – Rhapsody in Blue
Under the direction of Albert Coleman, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra is featured in a recording of Rhapsody In Blue with pianist Emile Pandolfi. Originally recorded at Allgood Studios in 1995, the piece serves as the finale of the album of solo piano performances of George Gershin classics by the celebrated pianist.
Tour of Taiwan
Under the direction of Maestro John Head, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra completes a three week tour of Taiwan, including performances at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and the Cultural Centers in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Penghu. Craig Schulman, best known for appearing in the title roles of Jekyll & Hyde, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera, and nearly 2,000 performances of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, on Broadway and around the world, joins the orchestra on several performances.
70th Anniversary Gala
On October 2 & 3, 2015, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra performed a 70th Anniversary Gala concert event at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center. The programs paid tribute to the storied history of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra and featured many guest artists from the Atlanta area, including Arrested Development, Cecil Welch, Michelle Malone, HeaveN Beatbox, Brent Runnels, Levi Lowrey, Montana Skies, Chris Wright, Joe Gransden and Scott Porter.
In The Spirit: A Celebration of the Holidays
On November 13, John Driskell Hopkins and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra released In The Spirit: A Celebration of the Holidays, the first Christmas album recorded by the Atlanta Pops Orchestra in their 70 year history, and the first major release by the orchestra in over 30 years. The album includes guest appearances by Balsam Range, Indigo Girls and Laura Bell Bundy.
Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble
In 2016, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble is introduced. This 14 to 16 piece version of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra is assembled to take advantage of performance opportunities in new and atypical settings for the full orchestra. The Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble’s engagements included a performance at The Vista Room in Decatur, Georgia with John Driskell Hopkins and a perfomance at the Art of Music Festival in Lake Junaluska, NC with bluegrass group Balsam Range.
100th Rotary International Convention
In June, Atlanta Pops Orchestra performed for over 44,000 guests from throughout the world at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta during the opening ceremonies of the 100th Rotary International Convention. Maestro Jason Altieri led the orchestra in a stunning performance of American popular music, with guest appearances by singers Katie Deal and Margaret Keys. Additionally, members of the orchestra joined the internationally renowned Irish-Norwegian band Secret Garden for their performance during the closing ceremonies.
Special thanks to The Popular Music and Culture Collection Division of the Georgia State University Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta Federation of Musicians – Local 148-462 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame and The Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library for their help with this timeline project.