Panama City Pops Orchestra
Mission: The Panama City POPS Orchestra is committed to providing excellent classical and popular music which delights, educates and inspires the cultural life of our communities within a sustainable financial structure.
Vision: To be a dynamic orchestra that provides enriching musical experiences.
History: The Panama City POPS Orchestra (formerly the Orchestra of St. Andrew Bay) began in 1996 as a small group of string players seeking opportunities to play and perform together. It was founded by Elaine Matson, Michael Reisman and Sandy Rosengren. Led by John Boozer, this ensemble soon grew into a complete orchestra, playing a wide variety of symphonic music and training talented musicians guided by experienced adults.
At the end of the 1999-2000 season, Dr. Boozer left for a position in North Carolina, and the baton passed to Rusty Garner of Gulf Coast Community College, Division of Visual and Performing Arts. During his tenure the orchestra formed a close cooperative relationship with the college and presented Bay County audiences a series of ambitious and entertaining programs. Mr. Garner retired at the end of the 2005-2006 season.
From 2006-2016 The POPS was fortunate to have the accomplished, creative and enthusiastic leadership of Eddie Rackley. Bringing a lifetime of musical education and experience to the podium, Eddie fostered unprecedented artistic growth, delivering the unique combination of classical works and popular arrangements that distinguishes The POPS today. He diligently advocated for promising young musicians, fostering a mentoring program with the adult orchestra and exposing young talent to the demands and rewards of rehearsing and performing in a professional environment. Maestro Rackley retired and relocated at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
The POPS’ 2016-2017 season welcomes renowned conductor and composer Dr. David Ott as Conductor and Music Director and anticipates a season of continued growth in artistic excellence.