Performance Updates from the Tucson Pops Orchestra

Norma Gentry

This week the Board of Directors of the Tucson Pops Orchestra made the difficult decision to cancel the fall season of Music Under the Stars™, which was scheduled to begin on September 6. “With the pandemic still so active in our community, and gathering restrictions placed on public places throughout the city, we had to make this decision for the safety of our musicians and guests” said Maestro László Veres, longtime Pops conductor.

In lieu of live performances, Veres is pleased to announce that the “Best of the Pops” concert recordings will be broadcast throughout the “season” on KUAT, 89.1FM, the local NPR affiliate. Working with Tucson Pops board member, Andy Bade, who is the Classical Music Program Coordinator and afternoon host on KUAT, they have selected a wonderful variety of previously recorded pops concerts, sure to bring back some great memories for concert goers at home. Each concert will air on Wednesdays at 3 p.m., and repeat on Sundays at 9 p.m. The launch date and program details will be available at later this month

The Board is also committed to ensuring work for the musicians, most of whom are TSO players, who recently found out that their regular season has also been cancelled. “This is a serious situation for these dedicated professional musicians,” said Co-Executive Director Fran Bettinger. “We designated the PPP money that we received earlier this year to be used to pay our musicians to create virtual music performances.” So far this year, they have produced two wonderful music videos; My Yiddishe Momme for Mother’s Day, and America the Beautiful for the 4th of July, They are currently in production for the Battle Hymn of the Republic for Labor Day weekend. The release date and link will be available at later this month.

With the generous support of Long Realty Companies, and the commitment from many loyal Friends of the Pops patrons, the Tucson Pops Orchestra will continue to find ways to bring music to the community, to provide some measure of comfort until they can once again take to the stage at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park. Jonathon Crider who just joined the executive leadership team at the Tucson Pops looks forward to the future. “I’m proud to be a part of such a dedicated community of supporters. Together we will keep our music alive and come back from this stronger than ever.”

The spring season of Music Under the Stars™ is scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 9, 2021.

About the Tucson Pops Orchestra

Founded by Georges DeMeester, the Tucson Pops Orchestra has been performing free concerts for the Tucson Public for 66 years. DeMeester gathered together a group of musicians to form the Tucson Pops Orchestra, their common goal was to share their love of music with the publicto make classics and popular tunes accessible to everyone at the free concerts they performed. They utilized whatever spaces were available, including the VA Hospital, a hotel on Miracle Mile, at a variety of radio stations, at Himmel Park and Reid Park, where they played on the back of a flatbed truck. Little did they imagine then that the Orchestra would still be performing today in the outdoor performance center at Reid Park named after their founder. When Georges retired in 1973, he handed off the baton to Charles “Bucky” Steele, who increased the number of musicians and was conductor until 1997. Since then, Maestro László Veres has continued to grow the orchestra, which today includes almost entirely Tucson Symphony musicians who perform with the Pops during their off season. The Tucson Pops Orchestra features the top musicians in southern Ariz., whose pleasure it is to continue to provide the highest quality music to the Tucson public each season. For additional information visit or call 520-722-5853.