We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Pops Orchestra?

By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pops orchestra is a musical ensemble that plays popular music. They perform pieces that, although requiring the same basic instrumentation of a traditional orchestra, deviate from the more traditional classical repertoire. All of the works played are well-known, although the concerts may center around a variety of musical styles. These types of orchestras are made up of serious musicians, but the atmosphere surrounding the concerts is somewhat more relaxed than for formal classical orchestras because the emphasis is on providing some fun for the masses.

Pops orchestra concerts originally started as concerts designed to emulate lighthearted concerts provided in Europe. Often held out-of-doors in the summer, the concerts also came to be known as promenade concerts, but pops orchestras perform in concert halls and similar venues, as well. The first concerts featured not only light classical music, but also music theater and patriotic pieces. Contemporary concerts still feature these styles of music, but concerts can even feature film and video game, jazz or rock music.

In terms of size, pops orchestras can be as small as one player per part. Other pops orchestras are mammoth by comparison, having 75 to 100 members not including any choir members who may work with the orchestra. This occurs primarily when the orchestra performs for a national or international event, with performances often broadcast over television and radio. More commonly, the size of the orchestra is around 50 members, the same as for regular orchestras, but even pops orchestras of this size may have their concerts broadcast. The event at which the pops orchestra performs, in addition to the theme of the concert and instrumentation of selected pieces, has an impact on pops orchestra size.

It is not unusual for pops orchestras to invite talented soloists to perform as part of pops orchestra concerts. This ultimately depends on the specific pieces the pops orchestra director wants on the program. In some instances, the headlining soloist plays a major role in attracting attention to the pops orchestra concert and getting people to purchase tickets to the event.

The distinction between a pops orchestra and a regular orchestra is not always clear cut. Many orchestras labeled and known as traditional orchestras perform at least one pops orchestra concert per year, especially Christmas and other holidays such as the 4th of July in the US. Other orchestras do pops orchestra concerts only. Regardless of the orchestra's status, the public usually receives pops concerts very well because of the type of music performed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By BabaB — On Sep 24, 2011

If a well-known soloist is scheduled to play as a part of a pops concert, he/she can really bring in the crowds. They add a lot to the mood of the performance. They are usually very upbeat and animated when they perform.

Sometimes, even a vocalist or a group will sing parts of the concert accompanied by the orchestra. This adds variety and energy to the concert.

By B707 — On Sep 23, 2011

I love listening to pops orchestra concerts, whether in person, on a video, or on TV. I hope to attend an outdoor concert on a beautiful summer evening some day.

The director of the orchestra usually makes them fun with a variety of little surprises. I think that all sizes of orchestras sound good - they are just a little different.

I have been to some concerts where the orchestra plays a variety of pieces - some classical, some popular, well known songs, and maybe even some jazz.

If you've never been to one of these concerts, try one!

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.